Great Backyard Bird Count is happening now! They collect data on bird species and their whereabouts from all over the country at this time each year, and you can help. It's easy to participate - just look out your window for 15 minutes each day, today through Monday, and fill out a form on their website noting what species you saw and how many.
Here are some notes from their FAQ:
How is the information from the GBBC used?
Bird populations are constantly changing. No single scientist or team of scientists could hope to keep track of the complicated patterns of movement of so many species over an entire continent. The information from GBBC participants becomes even more valuable as scientists try to learn how birds are affected by environmental changes.
The information you send in can provide the first sign that individual species may be increasing or declining from year to year. It shows how a species’ range expands or shrinks over time. A big change, noted consistently over a period of years, is an indication that something is happening in the environment that is affecting the birds and that should be followed up on. GBBC information also allows us to look at what kinds of birds inhabit different areas, such as cities versus suburban.
All the information from the GBBC and other surveys goes into a massive bird database called the Avian Knowledge Network. AKN now holds more than 112 million records of bird observations which are used by scientists around the world.
Why is the count in February?
It gives us a snapshot of how birds are surviving the winter and where they are located just before spring migrations begin in March. Scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society, and elsewhere can combine this information with data from surveys conducted at different times of the year.
Go to the Great Backyard Birdcount Website to participate!
I just filled out my form for today. In 15 minutes I saw 1 Black-Capped Chickadee, 2 Downy Woodpeckers, and 1 Red-Bellied Woodpecker, who was so stunningly big and beautiful. Of course I couldn't grab my camera in time, so I included a stock photo of a Red-Bellied Woodpecker in this post to represent him.