Join the 2014 Great Backyard Bird Count on February 14-17, 2014 - It's Worldwide!
The Great Backyard Bird Count- February 14-17, 2014
In mid February, tens of thousands of bird watchers in the United States and Canada will team together to conduct the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). Jointly sponsored by the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society and the Bird Studies of Canada, the Great Backyard Bird count is in its sixteenth year. In 2013, the program was opened globally.
Data collected provides valuable information about bird migration and changing bird populations across North America. John Fitzpatrick, Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, says, “Already, with more than a decade of data in hand, the GBBC has documented changes in late-winter bird distributions.”
Female Cardinal - A Common Backyard Bird
Bluebirds Often Visit Backyard Feeders
Preparing for the Great Backyard Bird Count
Anyone from expert birders to novices can join in the fun by watching a particular area for 15 minutes on one or all of the days of the bird count. They then enter their observations into the data base at their website (See link at bottom of article). In 2012, participants from the United States and Canada reported 17.4 million bird observations into the Great Backyard Bird Count data base.This year, with the GBBC opened to global participation, there will be many times that number of observations.
Novice birders are encouraged to participate in the bird count, but there are some preparations that will help see more birds and gather more accurate data.
Participants in the bird count range from individuals watching their backyard feeders to serious birdwatchers on tours to National Wildlife Refuges and well-known birding areas. Many school children are getting in on the fun by studying local birds, going on field trips to local parks and participating in the bird count.
Visit National Forests To Watch Birds
Visit National Wildlife Refuges for great birdwatching
Backyard Birdwatchers Are Important!
Important data also comes from the backyard birdwatcher for which this event is named. They are in perfect position to gather information as they often have many winter visitors to backyard bird feeders. The Great Backyard Bird Count website gives tips on how to attract and identify birds that visit your bird feeder.
Tips for Backyard Bird Watching:
1. Fill backyard bird feeders with variety of bird foods
Birds in your neighborhood will be easier to spot if you entice them to your backyard bird feeder. Prepare for the bird count by keeping feeders stocked with a variety of seeds and food to attract as many different species as possible. Some suggestions of different foods to attract a variety of birds are:
- mixed bird seed
- sunflower seeds
- thistle seed
- peanut butter
- pieces of cut fruit
2. Check the official GBBC website
Check the official website (How to Participate in the GBBC) for tips on how to attract more birds and how to count the birds. There will also be lists available of birds you are likely to see in your region that you can print out to make identification easier.
3. Be prepared with proper equipment for bird watching
- Bird guide - Be sure to have a good bird book to look up unfamiliar birds.
- Camera - you may just get the perfect shot for the contest!
- Binoculars - Do have a pair of binoculars that you can use to check on details.
Purple Gallinule in Florida
If You'd Like to Participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count
When: Feb. 14-17, 2014 for any 15 minute period on one day or each day during the count.
Who Can Participate: Anyone from beginning birders to experts worldwide can participate.
Where: Anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. This can be your backyard, neighborhood park or a National Wildlife Refuge near you.
How to Report Your Bird Count: Check the website first for tips on how to collect information. After your count, enter observations on the official website: The Great Backyard Bird Count (http://www.birdcount.org).
Watch for migrating birds on the water
Enter the Great Backyard Bird Count Photo Contest
Take photos during the Great Backyard Bird Count and submit your best shots of birds or birdwatchers. Photographs should be in high resolution and must be taken during the bird count period, February 14-17, 2014.
Enter the photo contest: Entries may be photographs of one or more birds in their natural habitat or of people watching birds or in activities related to the bird count. Contest rules are here: http://gbbc.birdcount.org/photo-contest-rules/
Will you join the bird count?
Have you ever participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count?
Participants will also be entered into prize drawings
As a Thank You to participants in the bird count, sponsors are giving away prizes to anyone who enters their count and anyone who participates in the Great Backyard Bird Count will be automatically entered into prize drawings. Prizes include bird books, feeders, binoculars and many other bird related items donated by interested organizations and sponsors.
Missed the Great Backyard Bird Count?
You can still contribute useful data through eBird. Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society have set up a method for birdwatchers to report observations that can be used by ornithologists and scientists to study birds, bird distribution and habits. Click on the eBird link here for more information.
A Good Field Guide to Birds is Essential
Thre Great Backyard Bird Count is now global!
Links to Great Backyard Bird Count Participating Organization Websites
The Great Backyard Bird Count - Get birdwatching tips, instructions for participating in the bird count and enter your data here: http://www.birdcount.org.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology - dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website at www.birds.cornell.edu .
Audubon - Dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. www.audubon.org
Bird Studies Canada - Canada’s national body for bird conservation and science, a non-governmental charitable organization. www.birdscanada.org
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