Bird counts represent a great opportunity not only for scientists to learn more about the numbers of birds during the middle of the winter as well as their distribution but for regular people to enjoy nature and contribute to the body of research.
Among the various bird counts scheduled around the year, the next one in line is the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), which will celebrate an important milestone in the following weekend, its 20th anniversary.
The GBBC is scheduled to take place between 17th and 20th of February, and it represents the joint project of various organizations such as the National Audubon Society, Bird Studies Canada, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
The Great Backyard Bird Count first started in 1998, and it involves the various type of bird watchers, from enthusiasts to people who just enjoy a day in nature and contributing to scientific research. The GBBC has become a global event, with volunteer participants from more than 150 countries, despite the fact that the first event was merely an experiment, as scientists were curious to see if people would use the internet to send information about bird sightings.
The participants will be required to actually count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes a day, throughout the three-day duration of the event. The number of the birds will be transmitted to scientists which collect the data through the birdcount.org website. Using this information, scientists are able to obtain a more precise picture of bird populations and their distributions, thus discovering any changes that happen from year to year.
In the first year of the event, birdwatchers in North America submitted around 13,500 checklists from both the US and Canada. This number has gradually grown, with last year, birdwatchers submitted more than 160,000 checklists from 156 countries, which consisted in more than 18, 637, 974 individual birds from more than 5,680 different species, which is slightly more than half of the total number of species left in the world.
Anyone can take part in the upcoming event, but even if you’re not interested in participating, you can still see constantly updated data with animated maps and graphs, from all the 11 previous events.
Image source: Flickr