Large backyard bird count 2021 could be the biggest

After a record year of participation in 2020, everything is heading towards an even bigger year for the Large backyard bird count this year.

The 24th annual GBBC is scheduled from Friday February 12 to Monday February 15.

All birdwatching cues, from sales of bird feeders and seed to downloads of bird identification apps, have increased dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, a record 268,674 participants (up from 224,781) submitted 249,444 checklists reporting the 6,942 bird species they spotted during the GBBC (up from 204,921 checklists and 6,699 species).

And, as in every GBBC since the very first, Pennsylvania bird watchers were among the best in 2020. They submitted 8,899 checklists, placing the state fifth behind California, with 13,331 checklists; New York, 10,535; Texas, 10,193; and Florida, 10,976. Rounding out the top 10 last year was Virginia, 7,088; Ohio, 7063; North Carolina, 6,419; Washington, 6.255; and Michigan, 5,314.

For the GBBC, people around the world count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, then enter their checklists online.

“The GBBC is a simple and welcoming project that will appeal to both bird watchers and veterans,” said David Bonter, co-director of the Center for Engagement in Science and Nature at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

“Birds are everywhere and can be counted in backyards, neighborhoods, suburban parks, wilderness areas and cities. Scientists need the eyes of the world to gather information on the whereabouts of birds. “

Data collected by GBBC and other survey projects highlight changes in the number and distribution of wild birds over time.

“By participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count, community scientists are providing data that we use to protect birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow,” said Chad Wilsey, Chief Scientist at the National Audubon Society .

“In turn, studies tell us that stopping to observe birds, their sounds and movements, improves human health. Participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count is a win-win for birds and humans. “

This year there is a new way to send a sighting, via the free Merlin Bird ID app from Cornell Lab. If you use the app during GBBC and register a bird that you have identified, it is also counted for GBBC.

As in the past, using the eBird platform on a mobile app or computer will also enter data.

All participants are encouraged to watch birds safely in light of the ongoing pandemic. This means following your area’s health and safety protocols, not gathering in large groups, and wearing masks if you cannot stay at least 6 feet from each other.

To learn more about how to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, visit birdcount.org.

GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society and Birds Canada and is made possible in part by founding sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.

Contact Marcus Schneck at [email protected].


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