It's getting close to that time of year again, time for the great backyard bird count. This Year’s bird count is February 17th thru 20th. The GBBC which was launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society is essentially a worldwide online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and display results in near real time.
To get set up you will need to sign up for a free E-bird account. E-bird.org is a real time online check list program and a very useful tool for the avid birder, and backyard bird enthusiast, too. It’s a great way to search for local birding hot spots, and allows you to keep a personal observation list including a life list, personal locations where you’ve observed birds and a lot more. For more general info on the E-bird check list go to their help page.
After you have created your E-bird account it’s as easy as clicking on the link at the top of the page marked “submit observation” and follow the instructions on adding location, time periods, and types and numbers of birds you have counted. What’s really great about the E-bird check list is that it can be used as a reference and you can submit observations at any point of the year, not just during the GBBC.
I just wanted to go into a little more detail on ebird.org itself. Even after the GBBC e-bird can be a great way to explore new birding locations and get an idea on where to look for specific bird species based on other bird watchers sightings. Under the “explore data” tab on e-birds website you can search photos and sounds, explore a region, explore hot spots, and search species maps.
It is also a great place to keep track of your life list. When you make a profile for yourself and add bird sightings too it, e-bird keeps track of every bird you have recorded. It then divides them into species listed in the last “month” “year” and “life”. For more info on how e-bird.org works click here.
We hope that this gives you a little better idea on how the Great Backyard Bird Count and E-bird.org all works. Let’s get out there and count some birds!