It's almost here, the 16th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) and it is new and improved! You don't have to be in North America to participate. The GBBC has gone global. Count birds from Friday, February 15 through Monday, February 18. A good pair of binoculars and a field guide are handy but not required for your participation. You will want to download a bird list tailored to your region so that you can tally the birds that you see while you are birdwatching and counting. Take this opportunity to get out and enjoy some fresh air and the natural world while providing important data to researchers.
The data that is collected from all participating citizen scientists (Yes this is what you are if you collect and submit at least one day's worth of data.) is analyzed to find out what effect weather patterns have on bird populations, whether migratory patterns are changing and much more. More details such as how to participate in the count and the photo contest as well as why it is important to count the birds can be found on the Great Backyard Bird Count website.