WHAT: The 25th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count
WHERE: Any place you can count/report bird sightings, back yards, parks, trails, etc.
WHEN: For at least 15 mins on any or all of the days, February 18–21, 2022
HOW: Report your sightings on eBird, Merlin or on your Computer using eBird
Researchers ask citizen scientists around the globe to help them track changes to bird populations over time. The count is a joint project from the National Audubon Society, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and Birds Canada and you are in”flighted” to participate!!!!
So why should you participate?
- Connect with Nature
- Be a Part Something Global
- Share your Experiences in Photos
What Do I Need to Participate?
All you need is 15 minutes, (or more if you are feeling it, a pair of binoculars are optional, and a phone or a good old fashioned pencil and paper. Though, from past experience I do recommend a clipboard too if you have it for the paper.
Our daughter started when she was just 4, so it has become a yearly tradition for us! This will be our seventh Great Backyard Bird Count. Early on, we started bird watching and doing our counts by visual alone. Now, after several years, we rely on sight and sounds as well. Certain birds are unmistakable by their sounds, like the White-Breasted Nuthatch, the Pileated Woodpecker, and the Red-tailed Hawk.
What if I go outside and I can’t find any birds?
This is something that could definitely happen…for any number of reasons. There could be a predator nearby, or it could just be a quiet day. Not to worry! Give it time. Or try a new place. You can even count the birds in your front yard, side yard, or at the bus stop!
This morning, the yard was very still and quiet. Not the usual bustle of birds going about. Then I figured out why. Nearby, a predator was lurking.
The hawk eventually flew off, and the songbirds could go about their business again. I think it was a juevinile Cooper’s Hawk. But they are very hard to distinguish from a similar looking Sharp-shinned Hawk. They are not my favorite bird because of thier propensity to eat small birds and my friend’s chickens, but thankfully this morning, it went away without breakfast.
But don’t get discouraged. Part of the fun of bird watching and counting is never knowing what to expect.
We spotted a Peacock in our yard once. (It escaped from our neighbor’s farm and was later returned safely home! It was not during the Great Back Yard Bird Count.) However, had it been, and we reported it as a sighting…there is a chance that scientists would reach out to us and ask: “Are you certain that is what you saw?” Certain birds are not supposed to be in certain areas, but of course there are exceptions. And if there is, they are going to want to know. This happened to us once, we reported a bird that we thought we saw. And they reached out to ask us about it.
If you prefer to do a checklist style, there is that option too!
Downloading a Checklist of Birds
If you want to download a checklist of birds found in your area, the video will show you how to do this on eBird.org. This may be helpful if you are manually tallying your birds.
All photographs in this blog are my own. There are lots more to see @Flutterbymeadows on Instagram where I post about my backyard habitat for things with wings in my almost all native plant garden.