Chicago family joins worldwide Great Backyard Bird Count

It’s February and that means it’s time for the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)! The GBBC is an opportunity to participate in a worldwide research project that helps scientists get the “big picture” about what is happening with bird populations around the world.

Our family has participated for the past four years. We spend one or more 15-minute segments at some point during the course of the four-day event counting the number of birds of each species we see in a particular location. We have a few bird feeders outside our kitchen window so it’s very convenient to count the birds from our table while eating breakfast. You can count birds from anywhere: a nearby park, a school, parking lot, etc.

Since our family homeschools, this is a great opportunity to talk with our kids about a number of different topics, including: bird species we find in our backyard, the research process, graphs, and charts. These topics have spawned other discussions in the past, including: bird life cycles, migration, flight, etc. Plus it’s fun to now be able to identify the birds that gobble up the seeds from our feeders everyday.

This year the count will be held Friday, February 14 through Monday, February 17. They have a website sponsored by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Audobon Society and Bird studies-Canada.

To participate, visit the GBBC website HERE . They’ll help you create a GBBC account. Count the birds sometime during February 14-17. They have an online bird identification guide if you’re not sure what birds you’re seeing. Then enter your results. They take data from all levels of birdwatchers. Checkout the data from others as it comes in. You can watch the data map change in almost real-time as observers submit their sightings.

I’m always excited to participate in this project because it’s educational. My kids are excited to participate because it’s fun. Hope you’re able to join in!

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