Feb. 11, 2014. Bird watchers from more than 100 countries are expected to participate in the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) from Feb. 14-17. Anyone anywhere in the world can count birds for at least 15 minutes one one or more days of the count and enter their sightings at www.birdcount.org.
The information gathered by tens of thousands of volunteers helps track the health of bird populations at a scale that would not otherwise be possible. The GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada.
Last year’s Great Backyard Bird Count shattered records after going global for the first time, thanks to integration with the eBird online checklist program launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab and Audubon.
“Global count events like the GBBC provide invaluable data to our scientists that help further conservation efforts and a better understanding of birds’ distribution patterns,” says Curtis Smalling, Director of Land Bird Conservation for Audubon North Carolina
“During this year’s Christmas Bird Count, for example, participants recorded a rare phenomenon, more than a dozen Snowy Owls have migrated to North Carolina for the winter. Results from the upcoming count will be able to more clearly show us where species are in the state and how that may have changed from year to year. This information can give us glimpses of how things like climate change and other changes in our world affect our birds.”
Participants reported their bird sightings from all 7 continents, including 111 countries and independent territories. More than 34.5 million birds and 3,610 species were recorded – nearly one third of the world’s total bird species documented in just four days.
With 96 classified Important Bird Areas comprising 4.9 million acres, diverse landscapes from the mountains to the coast, and the state’s position along the Atlantic Flyway migration path, North Carolina continues to be a top-performing state for the GBBC. Last year’s Great Backyard Bird Count shattered records after going global for the first time, thanks to integration with the eBird online checklist program.
Participants not only reported their bird sightings from all seven continents, including 111 countries and independent territories, they were able to view results in real-time. More than 34.5 million birds and 4,351 species were recorded—over one-third of the world’s total bird species documented in just four days.
The Great Backyard Bird Count is a great way for people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with nature and make a difference for birds. It’s free and easy. To learn more about how to join the count, visit www.birdcount.org and view the winning photos from the 2013 GBBC photo contest.
“I participated personally last year from my home and was amazed at how many birds I actually feed in the winter,” said Edi Crosby, owner of WingN’It in Banner Elk.
“Winter is when they need us, summer feeding is just for us, but winter months are when they need us for survival. Especially this year with these frigid temperatures. Please join me this year and don’t forget to stop in Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and get your bird seed!”