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By Kerrie Wilcox, Canadian Leader of the Great Backyard Bird Count, Birds Canada


Fun for one becomes multiplied when birders join forces for the annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). Participating with friends, family, or a community group means there are more eyes to spot the birds and a deeper well of knowledge to draw from. Knowing where birds are seen—and not seen—is more important than ever during this El Niño year, and as climate change weather fluctuations influence bird movements.  The 27th annual world-wide Great Backyard Bird Count is taking place February 16 through 19, 2024.

An estimated half a million people participated during the 2023 GBBC. They reported more than 7,500 species of birds species from 200+ countries.

“Strong El Niño conditions this year could bring surprises to the 2024 Great Backyard Bird Count,” said Patrick Nadeau, President and CEO of Birds Canada. “Temperatures are likely to be warmer which could have an effect on the timing of spring migration and influence food availability. There may be more sightings of unusual visitors wherever you’re looking for birds.”

A male Red Crossbill showing its namesake crossed bill
Willow Ptarmigan photo: David Turgeon, QC, Macaulay Library

To take part in the 2024 GBBC, each participant or group counts birds for any length of time (but for at least 15 minutes) and enters the birds they could identify for each site they visited. That could be their backyard, but it could also be a park, a wilderness area, apartment balcony, even the local landfill!

First-timers should make it a point to read complete instructions on the GBBC website where they will also find helpful birding tips and birding app downloads. You can find out which birds you are likely to see in your area by using the Birds Canada birds in your region Photo ID Guide. Resources to help you with bird identification are also available on the event website. The GBBC website also features a new map for marking local GBBC community events. Birders can join up to help celebrate birds in their hometown.

Free Webinar
You’re also invited to tune in to a special webinar about how to participate in the GBBC being held Tuesday February 13 at 1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. It’s free and will feature Birds Canada’s Kerrie Wilcox, Brooke Bateman Director of Climate Science at National Audubon Society, and Becca Rodomsky-Bish GBBC Project Leader at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology) . The webinar will include a representative from Riverland Audubon Center in Missouri and an educator who will provide suggestions for GBBC-related activities. Register:

Help spread the word
Help us spread the word and make 2024 the “greatest” Great Backyard Bird Count ever! Please download and share a poster or social media graphic.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of OrnithologyNational Audubon Society, and Birds Canada and is made possible in part by founding sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.

Mountain Chickadee photo: Daniel Graca, BC, Macaulay Library

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