Great Backyard Bird Count – February 18, 2021

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a global event that is celebrated for four days in February each year. This year, the GBBC is from February 18 to 22. It is a free, enjoyable, and easy event that engages bird watchers from all walks of life in counting birds to create a real-time picture of bird populations. There are around 10,000 different species of birds worldwide. They range from big to small and monochrome to multiple colors, and can be found in every corner of the earth, including Antarctica.

History of Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a fun and exciting event that everyone can take part in. In 1998 this was started as the first online citizen-science project by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.

Over time, it has grown in popularity and reach across the world and is now the world’s largest “biodiversity-related citizen science project”. Each year the Great Backyard Bird Count participation grows as people of all ages across the globe show interest to spend their weekend counting, learning, and appreciating the significance of birds. 

The goal of this project is pretty simple: each February, for four consecutive days, you need to spend time in your favorite places — may it be your local park, a scenic garden, or your porch or lounge window. You watch and count as many birds as you can find and report them to birdcount.org. All the observations that you — and thousands of others like you across the world — submit, will help scientists better understand global bird populations before one of their annual migrations. 

In these largely unsettled times, the Great Backyard Bird Count event reminds us that there are thousands of people around the world who are united in their love for watching birds. So, join thousands of people around the world in this fun and meaningful event.

Great Backyard Bird Count timeline

1998
The Launch of Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count event is launched by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society.

2013
Global Reach of Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count becomes a global project.

2020
Website Gets a New Look

A redesigned website is launched to make the count easy, clear, and inspiring.

2021
A Record is Set

A record 379,736 global participants added 151, 393 photos to Macaulay Library in 2021.

Great Backyard Bird Count FAQs

Who are the partners of the Great Backyard Bird Count?

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint program of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon with Canadian partner Birds Canada.

What's the best way to do the bird count?

As the bird count spans academic days and the weekend, this is fun to do in your classroom, office garden, or at home. You can go on a bird walk and count, or count from your window as you watch the feeders.

Where do I record the birds I count?

There is a free printable count sheet if one enters the GBBC search engine “free bird counting printable” on ravens

Great Backyard Bird Count Activities

  1. Look up and count birds

    The best part about GBBC is that you can celebrate it even in your backyard. All you need to do is to look up, enjoy the atmosphere and count!

  2. Organize a community event

    You can organize an event in your locality or community, and educate others about the significance of birds in this world, and of course, celebrate GBCC. You could inspire children and the youth to participate and present it as a type of birding treasure hunt.

  3. Build a bird feeder

    You can build a bird feeder on your porch or garden that provides food, water, and shelter for birds. This will provide you with hours of feathery pleasure and draw all sorts of birds to your garden.

5 Interesting Facts About Birds

  1. 40 is the magic number

    Although there are hundreds of birds, they are all sorted into 40 categories or types.

  2. Penguins have feathers

    Contrary to popular opinion, penguins have feathers that keep them warm in cold conditions.

  3. Many birds can mimic humans.

    Not only parrots, but hundreds of birds out there, including crows and ravens, mimic humans and other sounds.

  4. Beating up a storm

    Studies reveal that a bird’s heart beats 400 times per minute while resting and up to 1,000 beats per minute while flying.

  5. A relative of T-rex

    The closest living relative of Tyrannosaurus Rex is not crocodiles or rhinos — it’s the chicken.

Why We Love Great Backyard Bird Count

  1. It’s a meaningful event

    The Great Backyard Bird Count is not any normal event where people just talk and write about birds, it’s a meaningful event where people count birds and help create a snapshot of where birds are. The results are scientifically recorded and help determine patterns of migration and numbers of birds in regions.

  2. Birds are fascinating

    Birds, in essence, are fascinating creatures. From the smallest hummingbird to the ostrich, man has always been entranced by them.

  3. Birds shape the world around us

    Birds are crucial for maintaining balance in the ecosystem. They control pests, move seeds and pollen around, and transfer nutrients across the land. This GBBC is a great way to celebrate these important creatures.

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