Attention all birders, birder wannabes, and community science lovers (looking at you Spring Seekers and FotoFauna checklisters)! The 25th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count is coming to your yard, or wherever you’re hanging out, this weekend! Running from Friday, February 18 through Monday, February 21, the Great Backyard Bird Count is a worldwide effort by community scientists such as yourself to document the state of bird life prior to their upcoming migrations.
Developed as a collaborative project between The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society, and Birds Canada, the Backyard Bird Count went global in 2013 when they started collecting bird checklist through eBird.
Thanks to that development, participation is super easy: Anyone can enter a checklist of birds they have seen or heard through the eBird app on their smartphone or tablet, by using the eBird website, or by saving observations in the Merlin Bird ID app.
If you’d like to take part in this wonderful community science project, all you need to do is pick a spot such as your backyard, apartment courtyard, local park, or any other favorite place, and count any birds you see or hear over at least 15 minutes (though you can always bird watch for longer).
[Related Reading: Field Notes—Joining the 2021 Great Backyard Bird Count]
Some tips to get you started:
If you are new to birding, the Merlin Bird ID app is a great resource you can download to your phone that makes bird identification easy, even if you don’t have much experience. Since the Merlin app is a project of The Cornell Lab, any observations you save in the app will automatically be added to the Backyard Bird Count.
If you are an experienced birder, you may find it faster to keep track of your birds and add them to a checklist on eBird.
Either way you’re bound to have fun, and maybe you’ll even notice something you weren’t expecting. After all, as the narrator of the intro video for the Great Backyard Bird Count says:
“Birds are everywhere, all the time, doing fascinating things!”