All About Birds Blog

How Many Birds Are in Your Backyard?

By on Friday, February 13th, 2009 - 10 Comments


It’s the weekend of the Great Backyard Bird Count – four days dedicated to counting as many birds as you can in your backyard. Enter your counts on our simple, free online forms, and you’ll be helping Audubon and Lab scientists see an up-to-the-minute picture of wintering bird ranges. And collecting this kind of data year after year is key to tracking long-term changes in bird numbers and distribution. It’s a great way to share in the scientific process.

Lab writer Pat Leonard sent out an e-mail with more information about the event. In case you didn’t get it, have a look at what she has to say here. Then grab your binoculars – we’ll see you at your feeders!

plWe just want to remind you that the 12th annual Great Backyard Bird Count starts Friday and runs through Monday the 16th. As you know, both the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society host this event, which has broken participation records for each of the past several years. We hope to do it again!

In 2008 we took in more than 85,700 bird checklists–compare that to the 11,700 collected in the first year of the GBBC back in 1989. The explosion in Internet use is one big reason for that growth and we’d like to harness its viral nature.

We hope you’ll forward this message to all your friends and family asking them to pass it on–who knows how many people we can reach?!

There are other great reasons for participating, in addition to the information gathered for science about the distribution of birds at this time of year:

  • We take in thousands of images each year for the photo contest and post hundreds of them in the photo gallery–these are really beautiful.
  • For the young birders, we have a kid’s page with games and quizzes to try.
  • Read the GBBC blog and leave a comment
  • Each participant is eligible to win great prizes donated by Audubon, the Lab, Wild Birds Unlimited, and Droll Yankees. (Sorry, staff is not eligible, but your friends are!)
  • You can explore sightings being reported from your state, province, or all over the continent as they come pouring in.

There seems to be quite a buzz going this year about the GBBC. The list of local GBBC events being held at parks, nature centers, zoos, aquariums, refuges and other locations is amazing–the most we’ve ever posted on the web site!

As of this morning, a Google blog search finds 22,606 hits for Great Backyard Bird Count. Here are links to just a few of them:

Birds in Your Backyard

Birding Maine

Green Daily

Birds O’ the Morning

Audubon’s Steve Kress also appeared on the Martha Stewart Show February 6 to talk about bird feeders and gave the GBBC a big plug as well. You can watch the segment here.

So it feels like something big is building and we hope you will not only help spread the word but take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count yourself! Visit

Thank you for all you do for the birds each and every day,

The Great Backyard Bird Count team

UPDATE: As of 3:00 Friday afternoon, we’ve already had more than 1,800 checklists filed! Our combined species tally is 314, and people across the continent have counted a total of 126,343 backyard birds so far! Follow the progress all weekend here.

Go here to sign up for e-newsletters that will keep you up to date on Lab-related events and happenings.

(Image: Eastern Bluebirds by GBBC contributor Frank Ripp of Whispering Pines, North Carolina. Enter your pictures from this weekend in our photo contest.)

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  1. MaineBirder says:

    It’s so exciting participating in the GBBC! We have submitted our first check list.

    Thank you for the link to our site!

  2. Nikki Davenport says:

    Tomorrow morning our University City School District Birder’s Club in St. Louis, MO will be going out to do a count. All the students are so excited!

  3. Paulie says:

    Eagles showed up in this yard! They’ll be on the count.

    Somebody tell me what’s fun to do on flickr please.



  4. This post caught my eye on Friday and as I read more, I decided to count. Then today I discovered that Knoxville, TN is listed #5 (at the moment) in the top ten “localities submitting the most checklists”. What a fun surprise and made me doubly glad I’m participating for the first time.

  5. DNLee says:

    I’m glad it looks like everything went well. I was so busy oohing and aahing at the AAAS conference that I completely forgot it was ByBC. I couldn’t have participated anyway. But I look forward to learning more about urban birds especially. Oh, and I decided not to apply for a mini-grant. My hands are too full. BUT, if anyone in the St. Louis area received one I would like to know. I’d be happy to join them and help out however, I can.

  6. Anastasia says:

    Those birds are of such bright colors!

  7. Carol says:

    I’m sorry I didnt know about the backyard birdcount for Feb. I had Painted Buntings, Robins, Cedar Waxwings,Cardinals,Catbirds,Indigo Buntings, Carolina Wrens,Pileated Woodpeckers, Osprey, and others here for the past few months. The Swallowtailed Kite has flown over a couple of times this month.

  8. Hugh says:

    Sorry you missed it this year – but it sounds like you’ll be ready for a great count next year when February rolls around again! Thanks, Hugh

  9. Pingback: 6 Bluebirds at Songbird Prairie in Valparaiso, IN « Songbirdprairie’s Weblog/An award winning Bed and Breakfast

  10. Pingback: 6 Bluebirds at Songbird Prairie Bed & Breakfast | Song Bird Prairie

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