Alan Gubanich_Great Backyard Bird Count Participant_Northern_Flicker
Great Backyard Bird Count

2016 Great Backyard Bird Count Summary

Find out which birds were reported most often

Northern Flicker. Photo: Alan Gubanich/Great Backyard Bird Count

2016 Great Backyard Bird Count Summary

Find out which birds were reported most often

Below is a summary of some of the results of the 2016 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). A more detailed version of this report is available here: 2016 GBBC summary. Be sure to participate in the next GBBC, February 17-20, 2017.

What Happened in 2016?

More than 160,000 participants from more than 130 countries submitted their bird observations over the four days of the count; this was the most detailed four-day snapshot of global bird populations ever undertaken. Between Friday February 12, and Monday, February 15, 2016, participants reported 5,689 species, including 665 species in the United States. One of the biggest surprises in the US was the presence of three relatives of the American Robin that are usually found in Mexico and Central America: White-throated Thrush, Rufous-backed Robin, and Clay-colored Thrush. These, along with other unusual species like the Northern Jacana and Black-capped Gnatcatcher, may be moving north in response to climate change. 

This was the fourth year that participants were encouraged to submit their bird sightings from outside the US and Canada. The result was that we received checklists from more than 130 different countries and independent territories, with countries like India and Colombia surpassing US species numbers with 784 and 758 respectively.

Top 10 birds reported on the most checklists in the 2016 GBBC:

Have you seen any of these species in your area in February? If so, consider reporting them (and others) during the next GBBC!


Number of Checklists Reporting

  1. Dark-eyed Junco
  1. Northern Cardinal


  1. Mourning Dove
  1. Downy Woodpecker


  1. Blue Jay


  1. American Goldfinch
  1. House Finch
  1. Tufted Titmouse


  1. Black-capped Chickadee


  1. American Crow


Explore on your own and count throughout the year:

After the fun of counting birds, spend time exploring your results! Investigate interesting patterns in species distribution, or shifts in abundance by looking at maps and lists in the Explore Data section. Don't wait for next year's Great Backyard Bird Count to continue the process. On you can count and submit your observations throughout the year.

"Citizen scientists are helping us document changes to birds, starting in our own backyards, which is also where the solution begins," said Audubon chief scientist Gary Langham. "My preschool-age daughter came out with me to count birds in the yard and around the neighborhood--we're still talking about the experience weeks later."

To find out more about these and other trends from the 2016 count, visit, and don't miss some of the great photos submitted to the GBBC photo contest.

The GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society  with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada.

The event is sponsored in part by Wild Birds Unlimited.