Great Backyard Bird Count held this weekend

  • Great Backyard Bird Count held this weekend

Great Backyard Bird Count held this weekend

The count is one of the largest and longest-running internet-based, citizen science programs with more than 160,000 bird watchers in more than 100 countries participating.

Anyone anywhere in the world can count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count. Birdfeeders makes this event especially enjoyable and the information gathered and entered online is actually used by scientists to track bird populations. With the extreme weather patterns and higher-than-normal temperatures, participants may expect some unusual sightings for this year's event.

The 20th annual Great Backyard Bird Count taking place around the globe February 17-20 allows expert to everyday birders to add to the scientific research stash assisting in bird conservation and understanding the impacts of climate change.

"The very first GBBC was an experiment", says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Marshall Iliff, a leader of the eBird program.

"No other program allows volunteers to take an instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations that can contribute to our understanding of how a changing climate is affecting birds", Langham said. GBBC India is the Indian implementation of the global Great Backyard Bird Count, which runs for four days every February.

Birders across the state documented 200 species a year ago, turning in 5,521 checklists. There are 50 percent fewer of the birds today than there were 50 years ago, a result of different factors including climate change and habitat loss.

Luckier participants may catch sight of a pine siskin, common redpoll, red-breasted nuthatch or evening grosbeak.

"The influx of snowy owls during the count in 2014 verified the thoughts that this species was beginning to move further southward", Rowe said. These cycles occur at intervals between two and six years. "Last year, over 56% of the birds in GBBC were spotted in campuses only", said birder Yogesh Parasar. Since then, tens of thousands of photos have been submitted.

For the 20th anniversary of the GBBC, the public is invited to vote for their favorite top photo from each of the past 11 years in a special album they will find on the GBBC website home page.

Researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon Society use the lists to learn more about how birds are doing and how to protect them and the environment.