Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Great Backyard Bird Count for 2006

The Great Backyard Bird Count for 2006 is coming up this weekend, February 17-20. The GBBC is one of several "citizen science" projects that are coordinated by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Like the Christmas Bird Count and mid-winter counts run by local birding clubs, the GBBC aims to establish bird population and distribution. What sets the GBBC apart is that this count provides a nationwide picture of bird populations over a single weekend, rather than the two-week period of the CBCs or the local picture of the mid-winter counts. The late February date places the GBBC at a time when most birds are on their wintering ground - after fall migration is done and before spring migration is taking off.

If you have a feeder, set aside some time during the weekend to watch what birds come, and note down the highest number you see of each species and how long you spent watching. Then go the the GBBC site and enter your totals.

If, like me, you do not have a backyard, it is still possible to participate. This year, the coordinators of the GBBC are putting an extra emphasis on counting every species present in North America during the count period. This means counting in local parks and wildlife refuges in addition to backyards. If you do this, you will have to keep track of distance or area covered in addition to time spent birding.

Anyone can participate no matter how experienced or inexperienced you may be as a birder. And you can devote as much or as little time to it as you like. Read more about how to participate here.

Wood Ducks and Mallards at the National Zoo