Every year in February, scientists call on backyard birders to head for their favorite bird watching spots and report back on what birds they see. The annual event, held by Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, The Audubon and Birds Canada, helps create a real-time snapshot of backyard bird populations.
In 2021, 6,400+ species were identified with over 300,000 participants getting out there to look for birds and make their counts.
The count in past years has also revealed changes in bird population and location, such as Red-winged Blackbirds showing up earlier and farther north than usual. Some species of birds also migrated a month earlier than usual.
Why backyard bird counts are important
The Great Backyard Bird Count is great fun for bird lovers, and a good stepping stone for new birdwatchers to try their hand at birding. It’s also an extraordinary help to scientists.
“Birds tell us how our environment and climate are changing,” said Chad Wilsey, chief scientist at the National Audubon Society. “By joining the Great Backyard Bird Count, participants can contribute valuable data that help scientists better understand our surroundings. Together we can use this information to better protect birds and the places they need.”
With our natural world changing at a rapid pace, it is more important than ever that we keep watch over animals, even the smallest ones. By participating in events such as Big Day, we can help make sure that birds are getting the protections they need to survive.
How you can help
Participating in Big Day is easy. At some point during the 4 days it is hosted simply go out and observe birds. You can observe them anywhere, from your local park to your literal backyard. You can spend as long as you want observing, or as little as 15 minutes.
After you’ve made your notes on what you have seen, log in to https://www.birdcount.org/ and make your notes. If you have any photos you can add them too, but it’s not necessary.
Bird Count is available all through the year, so even if you can’t make it on Big Day, you can still help scientists learn more about birds.