The Great Backyard Bird Count 

Get outside and participate in a global bird-counting event that fuels science.

Join in the count! February 16th - 19th, 2018

About the Program

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a national citizen science program that creates an annual snapshot of bird populations. Count birds anywhere, anytime between February 16th - 19th to join in!  Every observation you submit gives scientists more insight into research areas such as how birds are adapting to suburban sprawl, West Nile Virus, and climate change. It’s free, it's fun, and it makes a difference.

Count on your own, or join us for a bird walk

Using this checklist as a guideline, count birds in your backyard, local park, or wherever you spot a bird. Count for as little as 15 minutes at a time, or as much as you want over the 4-day count period (February 16th-19th). Submit your findings online with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s program, eBird. For more detailed instructions see the guidelines below or visit:

Count birds with us: Get some extra guidance by joining Golden Eagle Audubon Society for a free bird walk. We will have binoculars and field guides to borrow -- no RSVP required.
  • When: Monday, February 19th between 10:00 am - 12:00 noon 
  • Where: Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve: 5301 N Maple Grove Rd, Boise, ID 83704. 

Enter the Drawing!

Golden Eagle Audubon Society is hosting a drawing for GBBC participants. You could win a pair of binoculars, a Sibley field guide, a bird feeder or bird plushes. And you can enter multiple times — every time you complete a checklist.

There are two ways to enter the drawing:

  1. Submit your completed checklist to the Library at Cole and Ustick 
  2. Use the hashtag #GBBCboise on Facebook or Instagram along with a photo from your bird count.
Bird Count Checklist 

Are you Ready? Use these handy tips and guidelines to make the most of your bird count 

Where should I count birds, and for how long?

You can devote as little as 15 minutes on a single day, or as much as you want over the 4-day count period (February 16th-19th). You can stick to your window or yard, or you can count anywhere: your neighborhood, a local park, a rooftop, a national wildlife refuge or sanctuary, or a birding hotspot farther afield. You can also move between locations during the survey, so feel free to visit several different spots.

Submitting your findings online

First, you'll need to create an account on the GBBC website. Don't worry -- is easy! Once you’ve created an account, you can also download the mobile app from the eBird website to enter your checklist information directly into the app. Otherwise, simply track your findings using the checklist we provided, and enter the data later on your computer.

Bird Identification Tips

You might want to study up ahead of time to get a sense of the birds you're likely to see. Most of the species you will encounter will be local and familiar. (Snow Geese and European Starlings always rank among “most numerous” during the count.) The GBBC website offers online guides and ID tips you can use to hone your skills. You can also download the free Merlin ID app, which identifies birds from uploaded photos, or the new iPhone app Song Sleuth, which puts a name to a birdsong. 

Get Out There!

Collecting and reporting data for the GBBC is straightforward: At each location, identify any species you see or hear, and tally up the number of individuals. 

Create a new checklist for each location and time: if you revisit a spot, start a new checklist. Remember to keep track of start and end times for each checklist, as well as distance traveled. The mobile app automatically tracks the time after you open a new checklist. 

Be as accurate as possible, but don’t panic if your numbers aren't precise. Counting a large flock is a challenge. Estimate when you have to: If you tally only 20 birds, but it seems like there are twice that many, 40 is a safe estimate.

Share the Wealth

Once you’ve seen some beautiful birds and collected valuable data, leave the rest to the scientists by submitting your observations. For those using the mobile app, it’s a simple matter of reviewing your checklists for accuracy, adding photos, and then hitting "submit." 

If you plan to record your data by hand, the process is almost as easy: All you have to do is log in to the GBBC website, head to the "submit your observations" page, and then plug in your results and photos. 

Going with a group?

We are happy to help groups or classrooms participate in this program. Please contact us if you would like some direction or a pre-count presentation.

Adapted from this article by Devin Griffiths/National Audubon Society

Membership starts at just $20/year and supports our programs, education, conservation and advocacy work.

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"Golden Eagle Audubon Society" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. P.O. Box 8261, Boise, ID 83707

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