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Participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count!

Cornell University's 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.


  1. Well! Hello, Sherry! I didn't know who this was, at first! Great to see your photo, people never look like you think they should, do they??!
    I love birds and would dearly love to see a chickadee....!

  2. Great explanation about GBBC. And you got a nice count in 15 minutes.

  3. Dear Sherry,
    Thank you SO MUCH for the links...I was shocked to see robins, but even more so to see the bluebirds two weeks ago! We must live nearer each other than other blog friends...Delafield has been our home for 20 years! Your gardens look beautiful! Thank you again for your help!

  4. Sissy, yes, I know what you mean about people never looking like you imagine. I've had work relationships with people to whom I only spoke to on the phone, and it was always so interesting to meet them. Holley and Anita, so glad the links are helpful! Anita, I believe I am about 2 hours south of you, Just 10 minutes from Ill/WI border.

  5. Is it not nice to count the birds. I love doing it. At the moment a lot of birds are returning from southern europe to the north. At 5.00 am the geese woke me up. Sometimes they fly over in a V-formation with 30 birds at the time. I love to hear and see that saying spring is on his way.
    Have a lovely sunday.

  6. One of these days, I may try to be organized enough to participate in this. The only birds we seem to have around here lately are sparrows, and an occasional mourning dove.

    Welcome to the garden blogging community!

  7. Marijke, I am glad the geese are returning. It is such a sight to see them fly in the V, honking all the while. Sue, I know what you mean. On Saturday I logged only 3 crows, and yesterday, 1 woodpecker.

  8. I love that people care about the birds. They add so much to my life. Thanks for the links.

  9. Hi Sherry, This is a great program for getting a better idea of backyard birds numbers.
    When the snow flies and there is nothing in bloom in my garden, I look to birds to add that spirit-lifting bit of color. Bluejays, a pair of cardinals, a variety of woodpeckers, and chickadees all flock to the feeders just outside my kitchen window. I never tire of watching them come and go.

  10. Jennifer, I wholeheartedly agree!


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