Each year during a brief four-day period in February, literally thousands of folks throughout the world take time away from their busy schedules to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). During this brief time period were are given the opportunity to serve as citizen scientists dedicated to collecting data that enables biologists better monitor the winter distributions and movements of literally thousands of birds. This year the count dates are February 12-15, 2021.
Since the count began in 1998, the GBBC has experienced astounding growth. These figures demonstrated its size and scope. In 2020, the count was conducted in 194 countries. An estimated 268,674 people participated in the event. The citizen scientists tallied 27,270,156 individual birds representing an amazing 6,942 species.
The list of the ten most frequently reported species contains birds that are native to the United States. This figure reflects the number of checklists reporting these species. This is not surprising when you consider that the USA led the world in the number of checklists submitted (169,234). This total was far above the numbers of submitted by any other country. This is demonstrated by the fact that India finished a distant second with 26,979 checklists submitted.
- Northern Cardinal (70,168)
- Dark-eyed Junco (59,318)
- Mourning Dove (58,361)
- Downy Woodpecker (52,276)
- Blue Jay – (50,808)
- House Sparrow (49,180)
- House Finch (48,796)
- American Crow (48,639)
- Black-capped Chickadee (43,775)
- Red-bellied Woodpecker (40,826)
Three of the great things about this count are you don’t have to be an expert to take part. Just report those species you can identify. Each count requires a minimum of 15 minutes of your time. Finally, you select where you want hold a count. If you do not want count the birds in your backyard, pick any other place you want (e.g. park, schoolyard, your entire neighborhood or simply a small wetland near your home.)
For more details, go to the Great Backyard Bird Count website. www.birdcount.org