Another acronym. This is a good one though–Great Backyard Bird Count. Maybe you’ve heard of this event, and maybe you’ve thought about getting involved with citizen science projects in the past. This project is the perfect launch pad.  The Great Backyard Bird Count is simple, can be done from the comfort of your own home (if you choose), and is important information for ornithologists (bird biologists).

For most citizen scientists, having a fun project isn’t enough, they want know their contributions mean something. Why is this an important project? There are many science based projects that have little funding and rely on citizens to contribute in order to carry on or even make policy changes. GBBC gathers information on bird populations and movements and with such a huge number of people participating (160,000+) it provides a really large, worldwide picture. Scientists are able to use the data collected to investigate far-reaching questions–questions about climate, migrations, diversity, and even disease. Identifying anomalies allows limited funding to be used more efficiently. The more data collected, the better the picture.

Red-tailed Hawk by Peter Ferguson, 2015 GBBC

So, mark your calendar and prep for next weekend’s Great Backyard Bird Count and become a citizen scientist! Not an avid birder or not completely confident with your identification? There are a few great apps to help you identify: Merlin Bird ID and Audubon Birds are two useful apps. I like Merlin because it also has recordings of the calls or songs that you can play–it’s fun when the real birds reply. If you want to walk around in the woods to identify birds, eBird is the app now linked with the GBBC so you can enter your findings right from your smart device. No excuse, you have plenty of time to get acquainted with these apps and set up your GBBC account (for free), and, again, you can do it from your home–grab a cup of coffee and count the birds out your window, easy-peasy. Follow the link below. Happy birding!

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