Birds Bring Us Together for the Great Backyard Bird Count
Join the global community in sharing a love of birds & nature
For release: January 31, 2022
New York, NY, Ithaca, NY, and Port Rowan, ON—For a quarter of a century the annual Great Backyard Bird Count has been a bright spot for nature lovers. The 25th edition of the event is coming up February 18 through 21. Everyone is invited to join the count so their birds become part of a massive database used by scientists to track changes in bird populations over time. The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society and Birds Canada.
“Birds tell us how our environment and climate are changing,” said Chad Wilsey, chief scientist at the National Audubon Society. “By joining the Great Backyard Bird Count, participants can contribute valuable data that help scientists better understand our surroundings. Together we can use this information to better protect birds and the places they need.”
Each participant counts birds for any length of time (but for at least 15 minutes) and reports what they see online. It’s easy for people of all skill levels.
Pileated Woodpecker Photo: Steve Luke, Macaulay Library
“Sometimes people feel intimidated about jumping into the world of birds if they have no previous experience,” said Patrick Nadeau, president of Birds Canada. “The Great Backyard Bird Count is a wonderful way to get your feet wet, feel the warmth of the community, and start to realize the wonders in your own neighborhood. The tools and resources are free. And you are helping birds when you get involved.”
Participants enter a new checklist for each new location or time of day during the four-day count. There are also tools and information on the GBBC website to help new and returning birders. You’re also invited to tune in to a special webinar about how to participate in the GBBC. It’s being held February 16 from 2:00 to 3:00 PM Eastern Time. It’s free. Just register to attend.
Red-breasted Merganser Photo: Frank Lin, Macaulay Library
A record number of participants joined the 2021 count. An estimated 300,000 people submitted checklists reporting 6,436 species.
“The GBBC is about the birds, but it’s also about the people,” said David Bonter, the Cornell Lab’s co-director at the Center for Engagement in Science and Nature.
“It’s clear from scientific studies that getting outdoors or connecting with nature—even watching or listening to birds from home—does people a lot of good.”
Many GBBC participants discover a fascination with birds for the first time and find it a welcome distraction from pandemic worries, as this new birdwatcher from Maryland explains.
“Like many others I found solace in the natural world, especially in birds,” said participant Anna Anders about birding during the pandemic. “I now had time to observe and learn more about them. I began going birding, put out more feeders and a bird bath, took birding classes, and started my life list…I can’t wait to do the GBBC…and continue my birding journey!”
All participants are urged to watch birds safely as they begin or continue their own birding journey. That means following COVID protocols for your area, not gathering in large groups, and wearing masks if you’re unable to remain at least six feet apart from others.
To learn more about how to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, visit birdcount.org. The GBBC is made possible in part by founding sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.
Step-by-step instructions for the GBBC:
* Merlin Bird ID app: https://www.birdcount.org/merlin-bird-id-app/
* eBird Moble app: https://www.birdcount.org/ebird-mobile-app/
* eBird on a computer: https://www.birdcount.org/ebird-on-compute
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- Pat Leonard, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, pel27 @ cornell.edu
- Kerrie Wilcox, Birds Canada, (519) 586-3531 ext. 134, kwilcox @ birdscanada.org
- Nicolas Gonzalez, Audubon, (310) 897-9836, nicolas.gonzalez @ audubon.org
About the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a nonprofit membership institution interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website at birds.cornell.edu
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at Audubon.org and @audubonsociety.
About Birds Canada
Birds Canada is the country’s only national organization dedicated to bird conservation. Our mission is to drive action to increase the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of birds in Canada. Every day, our thousands of caring donors, 60+ passionate staff, and 70,000+ outstanding volunteers are taking action to help us better understand, appreciate, and conserve birds and their habitats. Birdscanada.org