Now That You’re Feeding Birds, Think About Counting Them

This will give you 4 days to think about whether you might want to be involved in the Great Backyard Bird Count–and no, you don’t technically need a “backyard” to participate. You can count birds anyplace you can watch–or even hear birds! People start their counts just after midnight on the first day (this year the first day of the count is February 15). I am presuming they are hearing owls. I am sleeping.

What’s the Great Backyard Bird Count (or GBBC, for short)? It’s a 4 day count, held every year over the Presidents’ Day weekend. You can find out more than I could ever tell you here, at the web site.

And it’s pretty much as easy as it sounds. You “count” birds (instructions for counting are at the web site, along with optional counting sheets) over the 4 day “count period (again, this year February 15-18) and submit those counts to the web site. Last year close to 3 million birds were counted.

Why do you want to do this? For one thing, it’s fun. You’d be surprised at the number of different birds you’ll see if you just sit still and look.

For a second, it’s remarkably low tech (despite the fact that you have to submit your results online). You have to sit still and look at nature for at least 15 minutes. When was the last time you did that? It’s almost like forest bathing through a window. It can be remarkably relaxing.

So get to the web site, read the instructions, and even if you don’t participate, at some point over the long weekend, get your favorite hot beverage, park yourself in front of a window (or better yet, outdoors if it’s nice enough to do so where you are!) and just watch nature for 15 minutes. You’ll be surprised how refreshed you are at the end of it.

2 thoughts on “Now That You’re Feeding Birds, Think About Counting Them

  1. tonytomeo February 14, 2019 / 9:10 pm

    That sounds interesting (and I have done far less compelling counting), but I could not identify the birds. I have difficulty identifying even the familiar ones because they are often too high in the redwoods when I see them.

  2. gardendaze February 15, 2019 / 5:51 am

    I have taught myself to identify our common birds by ear (which is not easy as all of them have several distinct calls). But like you, I would be out (although I would usually be casually gardening in my own yard, or walking the dog) and I would hear a bird and not be able to see it. It would make me crazy until I could find it because some of the songs are so lovely.

    It took a long time but I have finally got our resident birds–usually. Every so often someone surprises me.


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