Love Your Planet: Join in the Great Backyard Bird Count: Kea (Nestor notabilis), New Zealand (© Magi Nams)

Do you have fifteen minutes and a bird feeder? If so, join in the Great Backyard Bird Count. Identify and count birds for as short a period of time as fifteen minutes this weekend. This will help scientists monitor bird populations around the world. It’s fun, and it’s easy!

 

The Great Backyard Bird Count takes place all over the world each year in mid-February. To participate, register here. Then get started!

Love Your Planet: Join in the Great Backyard Bird Count: Kea (Nestor notabilis), Canterbury, New Zealand (© Magi Nams)

Kea (Nestor notabilis), Canterbury, New Zealand (© Magi Nams)

Love Your Planet: Join in the Great Backyard Bird Count: American Goldfinches (Spinus tristis) and Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis), Nova Scotia, Canada (© Magi Nams)

American Goldfinches (Spinus tristis) and Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis), Nova Scotia, Canada (© Magi Nams)

To fulfill the Great Backyard Bird Count requirements, you  simply have to count birds for a minimum of fifteen minutes on one of the count’s four days. Or you can count each day for as long as you want (at least fifteen minutes). You might choose to go for a walk in your neighbourhood to see what birds you can find and count. It’s completely up to you to decide how much time and effort you would like to give to the project.

Love Your Planet: Join in the Great Backyard Bird Count: Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Queensland, Australia (© Vilis Nams)

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Queensland, Australia (© Vilis Nams)

The Great Backyard Bird Count was initiated eighteen years ago, in 1998, by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society. It was the first online data gathering project in which citizen scientists from anywhere in the world could count birds during a four-day period in mid-February and then enter their data directly via the internet. Since its inception, data has poured in from around the world. Over 100,000 people have participated in the counts. In 2015, citizen scientists recorded more than 5,000 bird species in more than 100 countries. This is far more information than scientists alone could have gathered.

Love Your Planet: Join in the Great Backyard Bird Count: Cape Sugarbird (Promerops cafer), South Africa (© Magi Nams)

Cape Sugarbird (Promerops cafer), Western Cape, South Africa (© Magi Nams)

The huge amount of data recorded during the Great Backyard Bird Count is vitally important to understanding how birds are being affected by severe weather events, climate change, and human-induced habitat changes. Data gathered during the Great Backyard Bird Count and other citizen science projects help scientists paint a global picture of the distribution of bird species and to monitor how the occurrence and abundance of species has changed.

In simpler terms, this data allows scientists to see which birds are where, how many of them there are, and how those numbers change over time.

So, grab your binoculars and help out our feathered friends! Click here to join in the Great Backyard Bird Count.

I’m looking forward to it!

Love Your Planet: Join in the Great Backyard Bird Count: Greater Scaup (Aythya marila), Alaska, U.S.A. (© Magi Nams)

Female (left) and Male (right) Greater Scaup (Aythya marila), Alaska, U.S.A. (© Magi Nams)

 

 

 

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