You are needed to take part in the 2020 Great Backyard Bird Count. Here's how you can do it, no matter where you are!


2020 Great Backyard Bird Count


Wherever you are between February 14 and 17, 2020, you will have the opportunity to contribute to the 23rd Annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). Originating in 1998 by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and the Audobon Society, "the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time." In 2019, 160,000 people worldwide participated in the count. Birds Canada and other international birding organizations support the bird counts and Wild Birds Unlimited is a sponsor. 


Worldwide participants in 2019 Great Backyard Bird Count

Worldwide participation in 2019 GBBC


Why It's Important For Us To Count Birds

Bird counts not only give us information about migration, birth rates, and population trends, but are a measurement of resource usage, climate change, and human and animal hindrances to bird settlements. Additionally, the counts provide information on conservation actions being taken worldwide. Further use of the data obtained can be found here.

Unfortunately, last October's results of another international bird count were dire, but necessary. Among the scientific information gathered by the Cornell Lab, Audobon Society, and other ornithological institutes, was the worldwide bird count, determining that this planet had lost 3 billion birds since 1973

Bird watching, or 'birding,' provides millions around the world with tremendous pleasure and even excitement.Being close to birds is a great learning experience for children and adults that brings us closer to nature, and makes us desire to protect it, as you will see in this short video from the Cornell Lab.



How To Participate In the 2020 Great Backyard Bird Count

The GBBC is one of the easiest things you've ever been called upon to join! (And you don't have to pay for an entry!)

1. If you don't already have an account, open one at the Cornell Lab; if you have an account, just sign in at the same spot. Here are specific instructions from the GBBC.

2. At minimum, you will need a pad and pen for your count so you can record the species as you see them, but GBBC has a special form that makes it really easy to keep track of what you see, so you can keep consistent data with each observation.


First Place, Overall: Tricolored Heron Thomas Anderson, Florida

2019, GBBC First Place, Overall: Tricolored Heron
Thomas Anderson, Florida


It's helpful to bring either a smart phone or a camera with you so you have evidence of which birds you are counting, where, and at what time. For example, you might take a photo and note down:

"3 mourning doves on side door telephone wire, 3:15 PM," or "4 mourning doves in pepper tree across the street, 3:17 PM...

Your photos will also be handy to submit with your numbers so the Lab can coorborate what you are seeing. 

If you can't identify a species of bird, your images can help you identify the birds on one of three great apps recommended by GBBC: Merlin, eBird Mobile, and the Audobon Bird Guide. These apps help you insure you correctly identify the birds, they are easy to useand are available for Android and iPhone devices. 


Second Place, Overall: Anhinga Thomas Anderson, Florida

2019, Second Place, Overall: Anhinga Thomas Anderson, Florida


Photo submissions that meet the requirements for the GBBC Photo Contest will be selected for competition by the GBBC; you do not have to officially enter them. Photos must be taken during the GBBC 2020 Backyard Bird Count. (February 15 - 17, 2020)

3. Beginning on February 14, 2020, start counting birds, wherever you see them. It can be from your bedroom window, in your yard, on a walk, at the park, in town, on an exotic vacation... wherever you happen to be. Just count birds where you see them, identify them, and submit that information to your account with your photos, if you have them. You can stop the exercise after 15 minutes (the minimum time) or at the end of the day on the 17th.  (I think it's easiest to make submissions at the end of each day because you never know when you might see another bird or birds you want to submit.)


Now you have no excuse not to join the GBBC 2020 Backyard Bird Count. It does not have to be conducted in your backyard. Take a trip to the Bahamas, where birding is said to be spectacular, and capture the Bahama Mockingbirdwith your cell phone. Record its call too, if you can!


Bahama Mockingbird

Bahama Mockingbird


Or stay home if it's cold outside and take photos from your window....


Young boy participates in 2018 GBBC before school: Dark-eyed Junco: Sujata Roy, Morrisville, NC, USA

Young boy participates in 2018 GBBC before school: Dark-eyed Junco: Sujata Roy, Morrisville, NC, USA


Just go count the birds! It has never been more important to the future of our avian co-habitatants on Earth than now. Show them love on February 14-17, 2020.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Here are general resources about birds and birding that contain information specific to the 2020 bird count as well. They are also the most extensive libraries of known birds on the internet.

Also, look into downloading these great apps, mentioned above:


Related reads:

3 Billion Birds Gone, Just Gone: What You Can Do

The Numbers Are In From The 2019 Great Backyard Bird Count!

Top Rated C&S Suet Nuggets Attract Variety Of Outdoor Birds