Brandon Voorhees uses the the Cornell Lab Merlin Bird ID app on his phone to listen for bird calls and determine what species are in the area Feb. 10 by the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks Cemetery. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Join global community in love of birds, nature

Cornell Lab of Ornithology/National Audubon Society/Birds Canada/Press Release

New York, NY, Ithaca, NY, and Port Rowan, ON—The 25th annual Great Backyard Bird Count is Feb. 18-21. Everyone is invited to join the count so their birds become part of a massive data base used by scientists to track changes in bird populations over time. The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society and Birds Canada.

“Birds tell us how our environment and climate are changing,” said Chad Wilsey, chief scientist at the National Audubon Society. “By joining the Great Backyard Bird Count, participants can contribute valuable data that help scientists better understand our surroundings. Together we can use this information to better protect birds and the places they need.” Each participant counts birds for any length of time (but for at least 15 minutes) and reports what they see online. It’s easy for people of all skill levels.

“Sometimes people feel intimidated about jumping into the world of birds if they have no previous experience,” said Patrick Nadeau, president of Birds Canada. “The Great Backyard Bird Count is a wonderful way to get your feet wet, feel the warmth of the community, and start to realize the wonders in your own neighborhood. The tools and resources are free. And you are helping birds when you get involved.”

Participants enter a new checklist for each new location or time of day during the four-day count. There are also tools and information on the GBBC website to help new and returning birders.

An estimated 300,000 people submitted checklists reporting 6,436 species in the 2021 count.

“The GBBC is about the birds, but it’s also about the people,” said David Bonter, the Cornell Lab’s co-director at the Center for Engagement in Science and Nature. “It’s clear from scientific studies that getting outdoors or connecting with nature — even watching or listening to birds from home — does people a lot of good.”

Participants are urged to watch birds safely as they begin or continue their own birding journey. That means following COVID protocols, not gathering in large groups and wearing masks if unable to remain at least six feet apart from others.

To learn more about how to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, visit

Resources for the GBBC:

Merlin Bird ID app:

eBird Mobile app:

eBird on a computer:


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