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Get Ready for the Great Backyard Bird Count

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The 2014 Great Backyard Bird Count will be held February 14-17 – are you ready to join in?

About the GBBC

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a citizen science project organized by the National Audubon Society, Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada. Since 2013, the project has accepted international participants, and in that first year of international counting a total of 110 countries joined in with sightings of more than 4,000 bird species. The data participants submit creates a snapshot census of bird populations and helps ornithologists and wildlife conservationists track population trends, bird range changes, species diversity, periodic irruptions and other ecological information.

How to Prepare for the Count

Participation in the GBBC is free but one-time registration is required, and that same registration can be used in future years. Participants should count birds in one localized area for a minimum of 15 minutes and submit their sightings records online, but there is no maximum amount of time or places that can be recorded (separate lists should be submitted for each location and time period). Many participants count birds just at their backyard feeders, but you can also count birds at a local park or favorite birding hotspot.

To get ready for the count…

  • Watch your feeders or favorite hotspots and familiarize yourself with the birds beforehand so you can confidently report your observations during the counting weekend.
  • Clean and refill bird feeders and baths a day or two before you plan to count so birds will know those resources are available and you will have more visitors to tally.
  • Refresh your skills for counting birds in flocks, especially when different species flock together and can be difficult to tell apart.
  • Check for local events through National Audubon Society chapters or other birding groups and decide if you'd like to participate with other birders.

Visit the official GBBC website for more information or to register, and let's get counting!

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