by Tara Tiger Brown

January 15, 2020

The Great Backyard Bird Count needs you!

Between February 14th - 17th bird lovers around the world are participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count. Join people of all ages and walks of life worldwide during the four-day count to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.


Scientists and bird enthusiasts can learn a lot by knowing where the birds are. Bird populations are dynamic; they are constantly in flux. No single scientist or team of scientists could hope to document and understand the complex distribution and movements of so many species in such a short time.

Scientists use information from the Great Backyard Bird Count, along with observations from other citizen-science projects, such as the Christmas Bird Count, Project FeederWatch, and eBird, to get the “big picture” about what is happening to bird populations. The longer these data are collected, the more meaningful they become in helping scientists investigate far-reaching questions, like these:

  • How will the weather and climate change influence bird populations?
  • Some birds, such as winter finches, appear in large numbers during some years but not others. Where are these species from year to year, and what can we learn from these patterns?
  • How will the timing of birds’ migrations compare with past years?
  • How are bird diseases, such as West Nile virus, affecting birds in different regions?
  • What kinds of differences in bird diversity are apparent in cities versus suburban, rural, and natural areas?
Great Backyard Bird Count                 

Get Started

1. Register at The Great Backyard Bird Count website

2. Count birds for at least 15 minutes between February 14th - 17th.

You can count for longer than that if you wish! Count birds in as many places and on as many days as you like—one day, two days, or all four days. Submit a separate checklist for each new day, for each new location, or for the same location if you counted at a different time of day. Estimate the number of individuals of each species you saw during your count period.

3. Enter your results on the Great Backyard Bird Count website by clicking on "Submit Observations"

Or install the eBird Mobile app and enter data on a mobile device. If you already participate in the eBird citizen-science project, please use eBird to submit your sightings during the GBBC. Your checklists will count toward the GBBC.

Photo Contest

The Great Backyard Bird Count photo contest celebrates the beauty and diversity of wild birds seen during the count from around the world. All images must have been taken during the current Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), February 14-17, 2020. Photos showing birds in plumages or in locations where they are unlikely to be during the GBBC will not be judged for the contest. Photos must be of wild birds in their natural surroundings. Domestic or pet birds and other animals will not be included in the judging.


Here are suite of ideas for teaching about birds in our environment from ebird.

Explore data including photos, species maps, YardMap totals and more.

Lesson Plans

Elementary School

Birds by Inquiry (Kindergarten)

Bird Feeder Survey (grades Kindergarten - grade 3)

Elementary Physics Lessons

Middle School

Birds of a feather, an interdisciplinary unit (grade 7 English Language Arts and English Language Development)

About the author 

Tara Tiger Brown

Tara Tiger Brown is a technologist and author exploring the intersection of the environment, education, and wellbeing. As founder and CEO of KitHub, she develops STEAM education programs focused on hands-on learning and environmental monitoring.

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