Join the Count: Good For You, Good For Birds
Positive vibes go both ways when people connect with birds
For release: January 23, 2023
New York, NY, Ithaca, NY, and Port Rowan, ON — The 26th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) takes place Friday, February 17, through Monday, February 20. Bird and nature lovers everywhere unite in the effort to tally as many of the world’s bird species as possible over these four days. Combined with other bird counts, GBBC results help create a clearer picture of how birds are faring – whether individual species are are declining, increasing, or holding steady in the face of habitat loss, climate change, and other threats.
“Based on the recently released State of the Birds report, we know that half the bird species in the United States alone are decreasing,” said David Bonter, co-director of the Center for Engagement in Science and Nature at the Cornell Lab. “We absolutely need the eyes and ears of birdwatchers to give us the big picture when it comes to shifting bird populations.”
Each participant or group counts birds for any length of time (but for at least 15 minutes) and enters the bird(s) they could identify at each site where they did their observation, whether that be from home, at a local park, or wilderness area. Sightings are entered online at the GBBC website, the Merlin Bird ID app, or the eBird website, which powers the GBBC and is the largest database of bird observations in the world. People of all ages and skill levels are welcome. And there’s another reason to count the birds: it’s good for you.
Pileated Woodpecker Photo: Steve Luke, Macaulay Library
“Take a moment over this long weekend to observe, listen to, and count birds and improve your health, too. Birdwatching and being in nature can reduce stress and improve your mood,” said Chad Wilsey, chief scientist and vice president at National Audubon Society.
A record number of participants joined the 2022 count. An estimated 385,000 people submitted checklists reporting more than 7,000 species from 192 countries. Many GBBC participants discover a fascination with birds for the first time and enjoy exploring (and comparing) results from around the world.
Bohemian Waxwing Photo: Nick Saunders, Macaulay Library
“The Great Backyard Bird Count is a stepping stone towards bird conservation,” said Patrick Nadeau, president and CEO of Birds Canada. “Taking this step in February launches a journey of discovery whether you’re just beginning to learn about the birds around you or an experienced birder watching out for new feathered friends! From here participants can look for their next steps in resources like Your Guide to Helping Canada’s Birds.”
The GBBC website has tools and information to help birdwatching newbies and veterans participate in the count. You’re also invited to tune in to a special webinar about how to participate in the GBBC being held February 15, at 1pm Eastern Time. It’s free. Just register to attend this live-streamed event.
The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society, and Birds Canada.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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Editors: Download images to use with GBBC stories. Images must be credited to the photographer named in the title of each image file, followed by “Macaulay Library,” as shown in above images.
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- Kerrie Wilcox, Birds Canada, (519) 586-3531 ext. 134, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pat Leonard, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, email@example.com
- Nicolas Gonzalez, Audubon, (310) 897-9836, firstname.lastname@example.org
About Birds Canada
About the Cornell Lab of Ornithology