Mission: To engage bird watchers in contributing to a continent-wide snapshot of where the birds are each year in mid-winter and to track changes from year to year.
Established in 1998, the Great Backyard Bird Count — February 17-20 this year — is a joint program of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society that records the changing patterns of birds in winter. Bird watchers of all ages and experience levels may participate, and every bird counts, whether spotted in a backyard, on a high-rise balcony, or on public lands. Scientists gain a greater understanding of North America's birds by comparing GBBC data with data from other "citizen science" projects, including Audubon's Christmas Bird Count, Cornell's Project FeederWatch, and eBird. In 2005, GBBC participants sent in more than 52,000 checklists, with a record-breaking 613 species and more than 6 million birds counted.
Outstanding Web Features:
The GBBC Web site contains instructions on how to participate, ways to involve kids, a bird checklist (2 pages, PDF), a downloadable poster (2 pages, PDF) for the event, and highlights from the 2005 count. Participants enter their data online and can view sightings maps, lists, and charts as the count progresses, as well as the results from past counts.