Birdwatchers in Over 100 Countries to Participate in ‘The Great Backyard Bird Count’

First Posted: Feb 11, 2014 03:23 PM EST

Beginning this Friday, professional and novice birdwatchers of all ages across the globe will participate in the "Great Backyard Bird Count" survey, which will last through the weekend until Monday.

The Great Backyard Bird Count was started in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society and is known as the first online citizen-science project to collect information on wild birds and show their findings in real-time. The survey is held each February and has drawn over 100,000 people each year.

Participants must simply tally the number and kinds of birds in their area for at least 15 minutes for one day between Friday, Feb. 14 and Monday, Feb. 17. Anyone can register for the event on the Great Backyard Bird Count login page and submit a checklist at the end of each day participated. The great novelty of the event is that there are no barriers for entry, and it is highly encouraged that more people get involved.

John Fitzpatrick, the Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is excited for this year's results. Last year was the first time the Cornell bird count entry portal was synced with eBird, which is one of the world's largest bird databases. As a result, the numbers were significant last year with participants from 111 countries submitting 138,000 checklists. More than 34.5 million birds and about 4,200 species were recorded. More statistics can be found on the Great Backyard Bird Count website.

Fitzpatrick also noted that the information not only helps to track bird populations in different areas across the world, but it also provides environmental information because birds are a good determinant of environmental stability.

"Birds are superb barometers for environmental condition," said Fitzpatrick in this USA Today article. "When habitats are degraded, bird populations change, and when they are healthy the bird populations grow."

For anyone looking to take up a hobby or profession in birdwatching, this weekend is the perfect time to do so. Be sure to visit the Great Backyard Bird Count login page to register for the event!

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