Friday, February 5, 2016

Great Backyard Bird Count

One of my favorite events of each winter is the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), held mid February of each year. The GBBC is a joint effort of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Audubon Society. It is a global event, with people in many countries sending information on the birds they see during their backyard count. Last year participants submitted over 147,000 checklists, counting over 5,000 species of birds.

I have blocked out the mornings of the next 4-day count, February 12 - 15, in order to participate.

You do not have to be a great birder to take part. In fact this is an excellent way to introduce new people to birdwatching, so it is perfectly fine if you are new to the hobby. Nor do you have to spend a lot of time (unless you want to.) How do you take part?

  • Choose a nearby location (your backyard is fine.)
  • Find at least 15 minutes to watch birds
  • Count every individual bird you can identify
  • Submit your counts (you may have to set up an account if you are not already registered with eBird or one of the Cornell Lab citizen science projects.)
This is a great project to do with your children or grandchildren, since it doesn't require a long attention span. It could also be a great introduction to birds for home schoolers, classrooms and scout troops.

One of the GBBC counts will be the monthly bird walk at Lake Arrowhead State Park on Saturday, February 13. It will start at the firewood shed (1st camping area to your left after you enter the park) at 8:00 AM. The entry fee to the park does apply.

Usually there is a group Rolling Plains Texas Master Naturalist count on Sunday. I haven't heard if that is happening and it isn't on the chapter calendar. I am keeping that date open, just in case.

I will be doing a count at Lucy Park on Friday, beginning at 8:00 AM. If anyone is interested in taking part, just meet at the first parking area on the left after entering the park on Sunset Street (the entrance adjacent to River Bend Nature Center and behind the Sanitation Department.) 

I will also be doing a count at Lake Wichita Park beginning at the head of the Chat Trail beginning at 8:00 AM on Monday, February 15.

Anyone who wants to take part is welcome to come along. If you need more information, send me an email at Be sure to put GBBC in the Subject line so I don't think your email is spam.

Good birding!

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