Friday, February 19, 2016

Great Backyard Bird Count

GBBC 2016

The Great Backyard Bird Count for this year took place February 12-15.  It is sponsored by Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and is a major project in citizen science designed to gather ornithological data from all over the world.  See the map below showing areas of the world from which Cornell has received data so far for this year.

World Map Showing Areas From Which Data Has Been Received (Dark Areas) [Cornell Website]
As you can see, the program is extensive and the data will be very useful for research and management.  To this point (and the results are not final yet) they have had the following submissions: 150,161 checklists submitted,  5,296 species reported, 16,958,689 individual birds counted.

To participate, go to  There you can read about the parameters and your data can be entered there.  Participating is easy.  All you need to do is stay in one place and count the species and individual numbers for a minimum of 15 minutes.  You can count longer than that and you can count on any or all of the days in the period.  You can make more than one count in each day, preferably from different areas.  It is easy to do especially if you count your feeder birds.  It is also fun to go to a good birding spot in your area and count from there.

We counted our feeder activity on each of 2 days.  Here is a list of what we saw.

Feb 13 - Mourning Dove 30, Downy Woodpecker 1, Hairy Woodpecker 1, Blue Jay 2, American Crow 4, Common Raven 1, Black-capped Chickadee 10, White-breasted Nuthatch 1, American Goldfinch 30.

Feb 14 - Sharp-shinned Hawk 1, Cooper's Hawk 1, Bald Eagle 1, Mourning Dove 20, Downy Woodpecker 1, Blue Jay 2, American Crow 3, Black-capped Chickadee 4, White-breasted Nuthatch 1.

It is interesting to see how variable the results can be just over 2 days.  Of course the feeder area was not watched the whole day so there could have been more or the hawks could have been there the day before and not counted.
Bald Eagle

Blue Jay
Participating in the GBBC is fun and rewarding.  Why not try it next year?

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