Gear up to join us in participating in this year’s Great Back Yard Bird Count! Participating can be as simple as spending 15 minutes looking out the window with your kids, and you’ll all enjoy learning more about local wildlife.
Feb. 17-20, 2012
How to Participate:
NEW: Downloadable GBBC instructions (PDF)
It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
1. Plan to count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count. You can count for longer than that if you wish! Count birds in as many places and on as many days as you like—one day, two days, or all four days. Submit a separate checklist for each new day. You can also submit more than one checklist per day if you count in other locations on that day.
2. Count the greatest number of individuals of each species that you see together at any one time. You may find it helpful to print out your regional bird checklist to get an idea of the kinds of birds you’re likely to see in your area in February. You could take note of the highest number of each species you see on this checklist.
3. When you’re finished, enter your results through our web page. You’ll see a button marked “Enter Your Checklists!” on the website home page beginning on the first day of the count. It will remain active until the deadline for data submission on March 1st.
Special Note: As the Great Backyard Bird Count has grown, more and more bird clubs, nature centers, and local parks are conducting special bird walks or hikes during the GBBC and having participants enter their tallies afterward. How you conduct a traveling count versus a stationary count is slightly different although you will enter your online tallies the same way.
Stationary Count: This is a count made in one area, such as your backyard, where you remain in one place. In this case, simply report the highest number of each species seen together at one time, as usual.
Traveling Count: This is a count made over a distance, such as birding on a trail. In this case you will count new birds of each species as you move along, but only if you can be relatively certain you did not count them previously. You’ll add the numbers for each species at the end of your walk.
| Marbled Godwit, Sharon Milligan, MS
Other helpful tools and information:
- Data Form Some people find it helpful to fill out the form before entering it on the website. By printing it off ahead of time, they know what information they need to be aware of, such as snow depth, for example.
- GBBC Photo Contest rules
- GBBC participation certificate to give out to students or to anyone who takes part in the GBBC.
- PowerPoint slideshow about the GBBC
- Local events Have a look at some of the events from the last count to get some ideas on what you could plan in your community for the next GBBC.
- If you’re a teacher looking to get your class involved with the GBBC, read through our educator’s materials for some ideas.
- If you’re new to bird watching, you might want to check out our “Learn About Birds” section. You’ll find help with tricky bird identifications, choosing binoculars, bird feeding tips, and much more.
Participants have many questions that we’ve tried to address over the years. Questions such as: Why hold the count in February? How many lists may I submit? or How are the results used? We have answers to these questions and many others in our FAQ section!