Starting today through Monday, February 15, thousands of people across the country are counting birds for the Great Backyard Bird Count. In an op-ed for The Huffington Post, Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold explains how this and other citizen science projects help protect the birds we love. He writes:

How can the birds you report seeing in just 15 minutes contribute to science and conservation?

In past years the Great Backyard Bird Count helped track rare influxes of Snowy Owls and the decline (and eventual rebound) of the American Crow population. 

But even more vital—each year's information adds to the data Audubon has been collecting for more than a century and engages new citizen scientists in collecting it. That information is essential to our research in tracking species and learning how they have adapted—or not—to everything from climate change to suburban sprawl.

You can read the full op-ed here, and join the Great Backyard Bird Count this weekend.

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