Citizen Science

The Great Backyard Bird Count Is on the Wing

Turn an eye to the sky (and trees and fences and the ground and everywhere) and help science.

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What to Know

  • Feb. 18 through 21, 2022
  • Free to join from wherever you are; you just need to spend 15 minutes, at any point during the count, observing the world around you
  • Report your sightings via eBird, and aid researchers in understanding migratory patterns, where birds gather, and more

Somewhere, nearby, or in the far distance, or vaguely with an earshot, a raven is cawing, an owl is hooting, a hawk is screeching, or a dove is delivering those warm and quintessential coos we all know and adore.

Birds, in short, are all around us here in Southern California, and admiring our avian neighbors is something we do regularly, wherever and whenever we happen to spy a beak-rocking, claw-footed, throaty-of-voice visitor.

Reporting on these incredible critters, all to help scientists stay up on the wonderful world o' birds? We don't often have reason to do that, but we most definitely can, over a long February weekend each year, when the Great Backyard Bird Count flutters back in our avian-obsessed lives.

The count is on, over four feathery days, starting on Feb. 18, 2022.

How to join this large-scale research effort, citizen scientists? Simply observe what birds you encounter and record your findings, with photos, if you like, at eBird.

The database "... stores more than 100 million bird sightings contributed each year and is used by professionals for science and conservation," shares the team behind the event.

And that team?

The Great Backyard Bird Count, "the first online citizen-science project (also referred to as community science) to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real time," began in 1998 thanks to a joint partnership between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society.

The count has now gone global, with groups participating in Canada and beyond.

How to begin? You only need to commit 15 minutes during the weekend. During that time, you'll observe birds in your vicinity, but you don't need to simply keep a keen-eyed lookout from your home turf.

Of course, you can observe for a longer stretch, or multiple stretches, in multiple spots, if you like.

All of the information is here, including how to access eBird, as well as the Merlin Bird app, a super tool for first-time participants.

Call it a critical way to connect with nature, and further science, all while getting a bit of sunshine and fresh air over Presidents Day Weekend.

For more information, flap, flap, flap by this site now.

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