Great Backyard Bird Count Feb 15-18, 2008

>> Thursday, February 7, 2008

For the past several years I have participated in this annual event and I want to encourage others to do the same.

Ever wonder how scientists know what the migratory range is for a specific bird? Or how many birds of a particular species there is? Well, since no single scientist or team of scientists could hope to keep track of the complicated patterns of movement of so many species over an entire continent, the information taken from GBBC participants provides valuable information to scientists as they try to learn how birds are affected by environmental changes.

The information you send in can provide the first sign that individual species may be increasing or declining from year to year. It shows how a species’ range expands or shrinks over time. A big change, noted consistently over a period of years, is an indication that something is happening in the environment that is affecting the birds and that should be followed up on. GBBC information also allows us to look at what kinds of birds inhabit different areas, such as cities versus suburban.

This is very valuable information and can only be collected by dedicated scientists and concerned individuals. If you want to do something to help birds survive this is one of the best ways to participate.

More information can be found at the Great Backyard Bird Count webpage.

I especially encourage those of you with good photography skills to document any birds you see and enter your photos in their photo contest.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds.

How to participate

1. Plan to count birds for at least 15 minutes during February 15–18, 2008.
Count birds at as many places and on as many days as you like—just keep a separate list of counts for each day and/or location.

2. Count the greatest number of individuals of each species that you see together at any one time, and write it down.
You can get regional bird checklists here.

3. Enter your results through GBBC web page.

They have a great photo gallery of birds from all over the U.S. along with names.

The reasoning behind why this is one in February is that it gives a snapshot of how birds are surviving the winter and where they are located just before spring migrations begin in March. Scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society, and elsewhere can combine this information with data from surveys conducted at different times of the year.

There are answers to all of your questions from the main page, just click on the FAQs link.

Also, check out eBird, a free, real-time, online checklist program that accepts bird counts at any time throughout the year. You can use eBird to store detailed lists of your own sightings, a list of your favorite birding spots, and checkout where birds are seen throughout the U.S.

A great online source for identifying birds is

This is a great opportunity to help further understand the nature of birds and a wonderful way to introduce more people in your area to bird watching.


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