Jan 27, 2012

GBBC - 2012 Great Backyard Bird Count

My Backyard Friend
This  past Saturday I woke up to the third snowstorm of the week and with nowhere to go I took my usual weekend morning place in the bay window of my kitchen where I sat watching the birds around my feeder and enjoying a nice warm cup of Joe.  I enjoyed the usual visit from our resident Cardinal Family, the black capped chickadees and of course the juncos.  One of the Juncos that visits regularly has a white head and I have affectionately named her whitey.  I know, not very creative and I'm not even sure it is a she, but I gave her the same name we gave to a white faced Doe that we used to encounter during our bowhunts back in the 80s along the Delaware Water Gap in NJ.  This is the second winter that Whitey has visited my back yard and I am always excited to see her.  I have yet to get a good picture of her but I will continue to try.  My family doesn't miss an opportunity to tease me about taking better care of my birds then I do them, which isn't true, but without my back yards birds winter would be a real downer for sure.  Their beautiful colors and sweet sounds make the short days and long dark nights that much more tolerable.

So What is the GBBC?

According to the GBBC website:
The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds. 

Participants count birds anywhere for as little or as long as they wish during the four-day period. They tally the highest number of birds of each species seen together at any one time. To report their counts, they fill out an online checklist at the Great Backyard Bird Count website.

So why should we count birds?

Scientists and bird enthusiasts can learn a lot by knowing where the birds are. Bird populations are dynamic; they are constantly in flux. No single scientist or team of scientists could hope to document the complex distribution and movements of so many species in such a short time.

Scientists use the counts, along with observations from other citizen-science projects, such as the Christmas Bird Count, Project FeederWatch, and eBird, to give us an immense picture of our winter birds. Each year that these data are collected makes them more meaningful and allows scientists to investigate far-reaching questions.
How can you particpate?

1. Plan to count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count. 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. You can also submit more than one checklist per day if you count in other locations on that day.

2. Count the greatest number of individuals of each species that you see together at any one time. You may find it helpful to print out your regional bird checklist to get an idea of the kinds of birds you're likely to see in your area in February. You could take note of the highest number of each species you see on this checklist.

3. When you're finished, enter your results through our web page. You'll see a button marked "Enter Your Checklists!" on the website home page beginning on the first day of the count. It will remain active until the deadline for data submission. (We'll let you know when that is for 2012.)
So you now have a reason to do some bird watching on February 17 - 20, as if you needed a reason.

For more information visit the GBBC website:  http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/


  1. Watching birds at the feeder is definately a great way to pass the time. I found the feeder not only entertaining with birds but other creatures. The squirrels were getting to it. I had it hanging from a limb about five feet from the tree and they would jump on it. I put a sheet of aluminum flashing on the roof. It was fun watching them jump on it and just keep on going. Also the coons tearing it up. I had it on a pole. They managed to climb the metal pole and rip it off. That is until I greased the pole good. They did not like getting grease on their feet.

  2. Thanks for the information! This semester I am dedicating some serious time to working on my backyard bird ID, and this event will be an awesome reason to practice!