Susan Spear

Great Backyard Bird Count (this weekend!)

Become a citizen scientist with GBBC! 

Get your binoculars ready! Scientists need help from people like you this weekend 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 14th through Monday the 17th. 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 GBBCis a great way to start because it’s easy, fun, and flexible. All you have to do is choose a spot (perhaps in your yard, at a nearby park, or at your school), count the out, birdnumber and types of birds you see for at least 15 minutes, and report your data online. You can also take a walk or a hike and look out for birds while on the move.

Resources are available to guide participants who have no prior bird watching experience, including an online bird guide and checklists designed for your area. We’ve also compiled some bird identification tips to help get you started.

You’re also invited to download our free Feathered Friends resource that will help you teach children about migration, habitat, life cycles, and more through hands-on activities. The lesson for February is all about the GBBC!

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!

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