One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to be a citizen scientist is to take part in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC).
Participation in the count is free and does not require you to leave home or take a lot of time away from your hectic schedule. In fact, you do not even need to be an expert bird to help. In addition, if that is not enough, this is something you can do with your entire family.
This year the count will be held Friday, February 16 through Monday, February 19.
The count is the brainchild of the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. The survey was originally designed to provide biologists with valuable information regarding the status of more than 600 species of birds that winter in North America.
Five years ago, the GBBC went global. As such, in 2017 214,018 citizen scientists from more than 140 countries took part in the count. This army of birders spotted 5,940 species of birds. Some 671 species were seen in the United States alone. A total of 210 species were counted in Georgia.
If you would like to join the growing numbers of folks taking part in the GBBC, the first thing you need to do is take a gander at the GBBC website online (birdcount.org). There you will find details as to how you can sign up for the event as well as the procedures you need to follow.
Next, select an area(s) you wish to survey. Many people simply count the birds they see in their yards. Others tally the birds found in their neighborhood, city, park, or county. Then on the day of the count, you spend as little as 15 minutes counting the birds you see. If cannot identify everything you spot, simply tally those you can. A count can be held once or on each day of the count period. After each count is completed, you go online and enter your data. That is all there is to it.
I hope you do take part this year. Your data will provide valuable data that will used by biologists to better understand the distribution and status of the birds with whom we share the world.