Great Backyard Bird Count 2011


Do you enjoy bird watching? Would you volunteer a few minutes of your time to help scientists better understand the population dynamics and movements of birds in your area? If so, the Great Backyard Bird Count might be just the thing for you. The count is coming up Friday February 18 through Monday the 21. It is a joint project of the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society.

Those of you that watch birds have certainly noticed that the abundance and diversity of bird species in and around your homes and feeders during winter can be quite variable. Scientists are trying to get a better understanding of these differences across North America. With your help, they can obtain some real-time data on where the birds are each year during four days in February.

Last year volunteers in the United States and Canada turned in over ninety seven thousand checklists, which documented the location and abundance of 11 million birds representing over six hundred bird species in all states as well as all Canadian provinces and territories.

Here in North Dakota volunteers submitted 98 checklists from 31 locations, documenting over 8,000 birds of 57 different species ranging from brown creepers to golden eagles. Amateur birders are providing valuable information that enables scientists to better understand what is going on with our feathered friends.

Participating is easy and you don’t have to be a bird expert. As their website notes, participating is as easy as 1,2,3! You just count birds in your area for at least 15 minutes for as many of the days as you like. Count the greatest number of individuals of each species you see together at any one time. Then when you’re finished, submit your results.

You can check out the Great Backyard Bird Count website at You will find all the information necessary to participate as well as lots of good information on the project and birds in general. They even have a special section for kids, and the bird count could be a great school or class project.

Chuck Lura

Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Minot State University-Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.

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