Saturday, February 19, 2011

Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a four day citizen science project each February where amateur birders get together and count birds in their backyards, parks and nature centers.  Anyone can participate and its a lot of fun.  The science behind the project is simple, it gives us a snap shot of where birds are at this time of year just before the Spring migration is in full swing.  Combined with other citizen science projects such as the Christmas Bird Count, Project FeederWatch, eBird and the Breeding Bird Survey we can get a dynamic picture of the population of birds across the North American continent. (Click through to find out more about these important projects).

Birders enjoying the large picture windows in the library.
Today, Amy and I went to the Burroughs Audubon Nature Center and Bird Sanctuary which was hosting one of the locations for the GBBC.   Also known as the Audubon Library for its excellent collection of books on nature with an emphasis on birds, this little gem of a place is one of my Little Edens(more about that in a future post).  There are two rooms set aside with large picture windows that make an excellent place to view birds in all weather conditions.  The many well stocked feeders make this a smorgasbord for every species of backyard bird and a few uncommon visitors as well.

Downy Woodpeckers visit our feeders.
We had the opportunity to see a number of common backyard birds.  Highlights were one lone Fox Sparrow, a small handful of Harris Sparrows, a Red-shafted Northern Flicker, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and the occasional Downy Woodpecker visiting our feeders.  Some of the American Goldfinches were already showing a partial molt into their summer breeding plumages with bright black and white tail feathers and even one or two with a brightening of the yellow feathers on its head.

Birding is not always about birds.  As often as not its about the comradery between birders and the openness with which most birders pursue their passion for birds and for nature. Its about sharing time with people who know the importance of nature and our overwhelming dependence upon it for our life and happiness. As always a good time was had by all.


  1. As my wife and I watch and count for the GBBC, I can't help but recall how many more birds there were a week or so ago when there was snow on the ground.

  2. @Marvin The birds do seem to be moving. I had heard of several places that had held waterfowl for most of the past few weeks but once the weather got warmer they all headed north.