The winter season can be an exciting time for birders and offers many of us great opportunities not only to get out and observe some of our favourite birds, but also do our part for toward the research and conservation of our feathered friends.

On the heels of the completion of the Christmas Bird Counts comes the annual Great Backyard Bird Count. Organized in conjunction with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Bird Studies Canada, the National Audubon Society and powered by eBird, the Great Backyard Bird Count offers birders the ability to get outdoors, come together and provide vital data for ongoing research.

In 2015, the Great Backyard Bird Count produced stellar results. In 2015 there were over 147,000 checklists submitted, participants recorded over 5,000 species and counted a whopping 18,725,079 individual birds around the world.

With the growing popularity of the count, organizers have made it easier for folks of all ages and geographical locations to participate. Since upgrades performed in 2013, the system is now run completely online using the innovative technology developed to organize and report sightings.

 

There are three easy steps you will need to complete to successfully set yourself up for the count:

Registration

If you have never participated in a count, or have not since 2013, you will need to head online and register for an account on the Cornell Lab’s website. The process is fast and easy, but we always suggest setting up an account ahead of the count, hence saving valuable time in the field after the count commences.

Observation

Organizers ask that all participants are able to commit to at least 15 minutes of in one more days to participate in the count. You are however, welcome to count as often as you’d like during the duration of the count, but be sure to properly record sightings organized by species, date, time and location.

Reporting

After the completion of the count, observers must then report their observation logs using your login on the Cornell Lab’s website or the eBird mobile app on your smart phone.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a sure sign that spring will eventually rear its head, leading into one of the most wonderful times of the year for birders. While we all look forward to seeing the return of some of our favourite species and observing the breeding and nesting seasons, this count is a sure-fire way to aid us in preparing for the busy spring season. We have included the slide show from the Cornell Lab for your reference below:

2016-Great-Backyard-Bird-Count-Slideshow