Great Backyard Bird Count

Become a citizen scientist with GBBC! 

Get your binoculars ready! Scientists need help from people like you in order to make the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) a success. The GBBC is an annual citizen-science project that asks novice bird watchers and lifelong bird enthusiasts alike to collect data that scientists will use to create a “real-time snapshot” of the locations of birds around the world. Scientists use this information to understand how the populations of birds are changing from year to year.

This year’s count will take place from Friday, February 12th through Monday the 15th. Since the count includes weekdays and the weekend, both homeschoolers and teachers can participate with their students—and we certainly encourage you to give it a try! If you’ve never done citizen science with your students, the GBBC is a great way to start because it’s easy, fun, and flexible.

Links and Resources

Resources are available to guide participants who have no prior bird watching experience, including an online bird guide and checklists designed for your area.

  • Be sure to submit all your observations from February 13th to 16th on the GBBC website.
  • Our free Feathered Friends resource  will help you teach children about migration, habitat, life cycles, and more through hands-on activities. February’s lesson is all about GBBC!
  • We’ve also compiled some bird identification tips, including silhouettes, to help get you get started. We also have tips for teaching bird ID.
  • Check out our Bird ID Cards which are a great tool for beginning birders.
  • Be sure to also check out the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s free birding app Merlin to help with your identification.
  • Find advice for birding with groups (and a printable Bird Count Tally Sheet) at our eBirding with students page.

If you and your students get “hooked on helping” through citizen science, you can continue with other projects and BirdSleuth resources.  Our Most Wanted Birds Kit for middle schoolers and our Science Investigators Kit for Homeschoolers each scaffold a long-term citizen science project!

If you like the idea of exposing your students to nature your local environment, consider giving GBBC a try!  Let us know in the comments if you participated and share your experience and ideas. You can also share your bird-friendly actions on our Action Map.

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