Birders Flock Together to Count Birds
The 20th annual Great Backyard Bird Count took flight February 17th – 20th. Over the course of 4 days, thousands of people joined outdoors to count our feathered friends.
The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with Canadian partner, Bird Studies Canada. The GBBC is part of the eBird online checklist program, allowing anyone anywhere in the world with Internet connection to participate in bird counts. The GBBC program lets you keep track of your bird life list, yard list, or even state list by automatically storing and updating observations on eBird.
This last weekend, over 154 thousand checklists were submitted, with more than 5.5 thousand species observed, totaling to over 23 million birds counted! On Saturday, birders from Elkins, West Virginia, joined AFHA AmeriCorps member Aeriel Wauhob, serving with our agency’s West Virginia Field Office, to survey birds in a city park. From the morning’s 18 surveys, 210 birds from 25 different species were added to the database by the enthusiastic birders.
The GBBC survey data provides a long-term record of how bird populations are changing. From the information gathered, it can be used to track migration patterns, changes in abundance and distribution of birds, and visualize the complex patterns of bird movements. Scientists can analyze the data to see trends on how well birds are coping with environmental changes such as urbanization, global climate change, and disease.
Data collected by the GBBC is very important to bird population tracking. The amount of information that is recorded over such a short amount of time could never be accomplished by a team of scientists, let alone a single scientist. GBBC observations become part of a permanent record for the public to view. To participate in the next Great Backyard Bird Count or if you would like to explore the data from the bird count please visit http://gbbc.birdcount.org.