Help science: Participate in this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count

Dark Eyed Junco
Dark Eyed Junco. Photo courtesy Sue Barth.
This month, you have an opportunity to participate in an amazing citizen science adventure called the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). It’s a free, fun, and easy event that engages folk of all ages and backgrounds in counting birds to create a snapshot in real time of avian populations. Participants count birds for as little as 15 minutes — or for as long as they want — on one or more days over the long weekend of Friday, February 17, through Monday, February 20. The GBBC is open to anyone from beginning bird watchers to professional ornithologists, and you can take part from the comfort of your backyard and anywhere else in the world.

Last year, over 160,000 people submitted online observations, making this the largest instantaneous snapshot of bird populations around the world ever recorded. Each of the lists helps the two principal GBBC sponsors, the National Audubon Society (NAS) and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, learn more about the overall health of global bird populations and how to protect them and the environment that we share.

This year the GBBC is two decades old. You can find more information about its history and how to participate at the official website At the same place, you can explore real time maps and charts to see what others are doing during the count. To get an idea of what species you might see before you count, check out the Explore a Region tool. For even more information, you can contact the NAS at and/or the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology at

The local NAS chapter, the Mesilla Valley Audubon Society, will be hosting a bird walk on Saturday, February 18, as part of the GBBC. To find out more about this, contact the MVAS Fieldtrip Coordinator, Mark Pendleton, at (please put 2017 GBBC in the subject line) or call 635-8711.