Thursday, February 16, 2012

Great Backyard Bird Count Coming Soon #GBBC

Tomorrow, February 17, is the start of this year's Great Backyard Bird Count. This four-day, continent-wide bird survey is traditionally held on President's Day weekend to give as many birders as possible a chance to participate. As in past years, this year's count aims to account for every species present in North America during the winter. Everyone with an interest in birds is invited to participate, regardless of skill level.

If you are new to the GBBC and plan to do it this year, check out the how to participate page to learn how to record birds and report your observations. The basic idea is that you watch and count birds in one location for at least 15 minutes and then enter the sightings through a form on the GBBC website. The location can be your backyard, out of the window at work (if your office has a window), in a local park, in a nature preserve, or in some other location where birds might show up. Counts can be conducted as a stationary count (like out a window) or a traveling count (like a walk through a park). Each count should be recorded on a separate checklist.

The GBBC website has some useful resources. First, there is a page to learn more about identifying birds. Here are some highlights from the 2011 GBBC. You can download or print a checklist for your zip code, based on what birders there reported in past years.

I encourage all readers to submit at least one checklist during this year's count.