It is time again for the Great Backyard Bird Count!!! This is a fantastic opportunity to get involved in a citizen-science project with your children or students. To participate all you have to do is dedicate at least fifteen minutes to recording the wild birds in your area. Using your eyes, or binoculars if you’d like, a guide book, and a pad of paper and pencil you can watch your bird feeders or scattered seed in your yard and keep track of the different kinds of species that come to visit (*hint: if the highest number of Black-capped Chickadees you see at one time is six, that’s the number you report, you don’t add all of your Chickadees together, just the most you see at one given time).
With it being winter, this is a great bringing-nature-indoors experience that kids will surely enjoy. Snag a hot cup of cocoa and watch the birds flutter in and out. With toddlers it’s a great chance to practice counting, and for older kids it’s a great opportunity for them to do research in a guide book since you will likely run into a bird that you are not familiar with.
When you have taken your bird count you can report it to The Great Backyard Bird Count website where you can create a new username and password to file your findings. When you create a new profile it will take you directly to your preferences so that you can make adjustments to your bird lists, courtesy of eBird! A few hints: when you report your findings it will ask you for the location of your count; first provide which state you are in and then the second time type in the address of your location (if it is your home it will mark it as a personal location, not a birding spot). This will be the easiest way to give accurate information. Also, after you put the numbers of each of the species you saw it will ask if it was a complete list of the birds that you were able to identify, click “yes”. This website also allows you to take a look at the data that has already been collected worldwide which would be a great way to compare birds around the world with your kiddos.
Talk with your children about the benefits to helping with a citizen-science project and what this data could mean to the professionals at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Take some time to watch the birds today and report your findings to The Great Backyard Bird Count site!