AUDUBON PA – “The Great Backyard Bird Count,” an international effort to collect data on wild birds and display the results in near real time, is scheduled for Feb. 16-19 (2024; Friday through Monday). Organizers are again inviting members of the public to participate in the annual bird count event.
It’s a fun and free winter activity, called “the world’s largest biodiversity-related participatory science project” (see the video above). Joining the study is as simple as counting birds you see, entering the results into easily used digital forms, and clicking a button to send them on their way to the scientists involved.
The bird count was launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, which is affiliated with the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, 1201 Pawlings Rd. As an artist and naturalist, Audubon is famous for publishing “Birds of America,” a book of 453 life-sized paintings of north American birds that the society says “were remarkable for their accuracy of color and realism.”
Here’s the bird count’s instruction summary:
- “Spend time in your favorite places watching birds, then tell (the society) about them!”
- “In as little as 15 minutes, notice the birds around you.”
- “Identify them, count them, and submit them to help scientists better understand and protect birds around the world.”
Digital apps record your counts
Identifying birds, counting them, and distributing the results all are made easy by using either the eBird or Merlin smartphone, tablet, or computer apps for a variety of devices. Both are available for free online download from Cornell. Submissions made using the apps during the count’s 4-day period qualify for the study.
“Birds are everywhere, all the time, doing fascinating things,” the society reports. “Join us February 16–19,” it added, “when the world comes together for the love of birds.” The only question it asks is, “How many birds will you see?”
Photos by Travels With The Post from its archives