It’s here! It’s time! Even if you have never really watched birds in an “organized way before. Even if you have never heard of something called a “life list” (or if you have and you think that it’s very scary!)
Today begins a 4 day North American bird count called the Great Backyard Bird Count. And it’s just as simple as the name implies. What do you do? Well, starting today (February 12) through Monday (February 15) you count birds in a specified location (the organizers, Cornell Lab, put the word “backyard” in the name because they thought that that’s where it would be easiest for most people to count birds–at home. If someplace better works for you, that’s fine–just choose the same location for all 4 days of your count).
Full details are found here, at gbbc.birdcount.org. There you can register, get details on how the count works and helpful tips on how to ID some look-alike species.
You can also download the e-bird app to your mobile phone so that you can enter your counts there.
E-bird is an app (or a web site) that you can use year round to enter sitings of birds as well. You can also go there to check for sitings of the latest “eruption” of rare birds. You can narrow it down by state, town, recreation area–it’s quite specific. So it’s also nice for travel (for those who like to see birds while traveling).
This weekend, if you have a little time, and the weather permits, go watch some birds–and then send your data to Cornell. You’ll be part of one of the oldest “citizen science” projects that exists–and you might even have fun–or find a new hobby–when you do!