Your Birds Are Counting on You

Ever wonder what you could do to help the environment? Do you enjoy birdfeeding or watching? If yes, the Great Backyard Birdcount is for you. You can participate form inside or get outside for a brief walk alone or with friends. All it takes is 15 minutes on one or over  four days, from February 17 to the 20th, 2017. You can learn while doing or really show off your inner ornithologist.  Read more for how you can make a difference. The count is a joint effort by the Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and Bird Studies of Canada. With extra tips, guides, apps and more available at, there is no reason not to try!

1. Register for the count or use your existing login name and password. If you already created an account for last year’s GBBC, or if you’re already registered with eBird or another Cornell Lab citizen-science project, you can use your existing login information.

2. Count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the GBBC. You can count for longer than that if you wish! Count birds in as many places and on as many days as you like—one day, two days, or all four days. Submit a separate checklist for each new day, for each new location, or for the same location if you counted at a different time of day. Estimate the number of individuals of each species you saw during your count period. Click here for a form to use.

3. Enter your results on the GBBC website by clicking “Submit Observations” on the home page. Or download apps to enter data on a mobile device. If you already participate in the eBird citizen-science project, please use eBird to submit your sightings during the GBBC. Your checklists will count toward the GBBC.

In 2015, Great Backyard Bird Count participants in more than 100 countries counted 5,090 species of birds on more than 147,000 checklists! During the count, you can explore what others are seeing in your area or around the world. Share your bird photos by entering the photo contest, or enjoy images pouring in from across the globe. Scientists use information from the Great Backyard Bird Count, along with observations from other citizen-science projects, such as the Christmas Bird Count to get the “big picture” about what is happening to bird populations. The longer these data are collected, the more meaningful they become in helping scientists investigate far-reaching questions, like these:

  • How will the weather and climate change influence bird populations?
  • Some birds, such as winter finches, appear in large numbers during some years but not others. Where are these species from year to year, and what can we learn from these patterns?
  • How will the timing of birds’ migrations compare with past years?
  • How are bird diseases, such as West Nile virus, affecting birds in different regions?
  • What kinds of differences in bird diversity are apparent in cities versus suburban, rural, and natural areas?

We look forward to hearing about the different types of birds you observed in the Mendon area, and are happy to answer your birding and bird feeding questions anytime.

Originally Published January 2016, Updated and republished 1/10/2017 by Colleen Oncay