The Garden Spotter

Great Backyard Bird Count – Citizen Science at its Best


Bird feeders. Check. Bird seed and suet. Check. Guidebooks. eBird account. Check.

I’m ready for the Great Backyard Bird Count. Are you?

Sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada, the GBBC is this weekend, starting first thing Friday, February 17, and ending at the end of the day Monday, February 20. Enormously popular, the count last year drew a record 162,000 citizen scientists from more than 130 countries. Birders counted more than 5,600 species, including 655 in the United States. Surprising, according to Audubon, was the sighting of several species – among them, the White Throated Thrush -which are usually found much farther south, a possible signal of climate change.

This will be my second year, and I think I will be a little better prepared. Last year, the count just happened to fall on the coldest days of the winter, and I decided to go on a hike at a local wildlife sanctuary to count, and, incidentally, spotted not a single bird on my bitterly cold excursion. Not one bird. Zero. As citizen science goes, however,  zero data is good data, too.

Great Backyard Bird Count (more…)


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