The 15th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will be held Friday, February 17, through Monday, February 20, 2012. The GBBC is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds across the U.S. and Canada.
Each checklist submitted by participants helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how birds are doing – and how to protect them and the environment we share. Last year, participants turned in more than 92,000 checklists online, creating the continent’s largest instantaneous snapshot of bird populations ever recorded.
Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from novice bird watchers to experts. Participants count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the event and report their sightings online. Participants can count in their backyards, at local parks and nature centers, or anywhere else!
Places ideal for counting birds are at the Pool Wildlife Sanctuary in Emmaus, the Jordan Creek Parkway in Whitehall, the Lehigh Parkway in Allentown, the Jacobsburg Environmental Center in Bushkill Township, Bear Swamp Park at Lake Minsi near Bangor, Nockamixon State Park in Haycock Township and the Peace Valley Nature Center at Lake Galena near Chalfont.
On the GBBC web site, participants can explore real-time maps and charts that show what others are reporting during the count. The site has tips to help identify birds and special materials for educators. Participants may also enter the GBBC photo contest by uploading images taken during the count. Many images will be featured in the GBBC website’s photo gallery. All participants are entered in a drawing for prizes that include bird feeders, binoculars, books, CDs, and many other great birding products.
Please visit the official website for more information about the GBBC. Or contact the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at (800) 843-2473 or GBBC at Cornell University, also Citizen Science at the Audubon Society or (202) 861-2242 ext. 3050.
How can you get involved in your area? If you’re interested in helping spread the word about the GBBC in the Lehigh Valley, you can become a GBBC ambassador. Your contribution may be as simple as distributing GBBC posters in your area or you can do more, by printing out press releases and sending them to your local paper, bird club, library, birding store, or other location. Some people even give presentations on how to do the GBBC. Last year, ambassadors coordinated GBBC events at nature centers, senior centers, and other locations.