A joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, this free event is an opportunity for families, students, and people of all ages to discover the wonders of nature in backyards, schoolyards, and local parks, and, at the same time, make an important contribution to conservation.
"Anyone who can identify even a few species can contribute to the body of knowledge that is used to inform conservation efforts to protect birds and biodiversity," said Audubon Education Vice-President, Judy Braus.
Volunteers take part by counting birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the event and reporting their sightings online at www.birdcount.org. The data help researchers understand bird population trends across the continent, information that is critical for effective conservation. In 2008, participants submitted more than 85,000 checklists, a new record.
"The GBBC has become a vital link in the arsenal of continent wide bird-monitoring projects," said Cornell Lab of Ornithology director John Fitzpatrick. "With more than a decade of data now in hand, the GBBC has documented striking changes in late-winter bird distributions."
Participants submit thousands of digital images for the GBBC photo contest each year. Last year's winners are now posted on the web site. Participants are also invited to upload their bird videos to YouTube tagged "GBBC." Some of them will be featured on the GBBC web site. All participants will be entered in a drawing to win dozens of birding items, including stuffed birds, clocks, books, and feeders.
Businesses, schools, nature clubs, Scout troops, and other community organizations interested in the GBBC can contact the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at (800) 843-2473 (outside the U.S., call (607) 254-2473), or Audubon at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 861-2242, Ext 3050.
The Great Backyard Bird Count is made possible, in part, by support from Wild Birds Unlimited.
Editors: Use the GBBC News Room for high-resolution images, top- 10 lists, FAQs, bird sounds and results of the 2008 count.
To interview a participant in your area, please get in touch with one of our media contacts.
Producers: Some B-roll is available for broadcast use. Please contact Tammy Bishop at (607) 254-1298 to discuss format needs.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a nonprofit membership institution interpreting and conserving the earth's biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds.