Birth watchers and enthusiasts are asked to join the Great Backyard Bird Count and help the scientific community to continue to keep track of the global bird population. Perhaps, with help, conservation efforts will be improved.
- The Great Backyard Bird Count first started in 1998
- This will be the 19th event, and will last from February 12th to February 15th
- Last year, 140,000 people participated from 100 countries, recorded over 5,000 species, including two new ones
Each year, the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is organized and funded by the University of Cornell’s Lab or Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. The purpose behind the annual avian census is to ask both amateurs and experts to spend perhaps a few minutes keeping a watchful eye out for local birds. With their help, ornithologists will be given vital information about bird population, diversity, behavior, and worldwide spread of various species.
The GBBC was founded back in 1998, and it’s currently the longest-standing citizen-driven project worldwide to date. It’s an excellent way to bridge the gap between amateurs, enthusiasts, and any person for that matter who wants to get involved in scientific projects. It’s simple and could bring forward invaluable information.
Last year, in 2015, over 140,000 people participated from around 100 countries around the world in the four-day event. Participants recorded 5,090 different species of birds, including two new discoveries that had never been found before in scientific journals. This included the milpo tapaculo and the Santa Marta screech-owl. In just four days, participants entered 147,265 bird checklists. Perhaps in 2016, a similarly exceptional performance could be achieved.
This year’s event will be the 19th GBBC in history, and will start on February 12th to last until February 15th. Any interested bird watcher can join, with a pen and paper in hand or a smartphone to jot down the local birds found around their towns. This can range from the common northern cardinals, blue jays, and American goldfinches from any other species that swoops around bird feeders or gardens. A minimum of 15 minutes of observation is required, but an involvement worth hours is likely to be even more productive.
Details such as color, size, and behavior could become crucial information for ornithologists and conservationists who are attempting to understand and aid the birds’ survival. According Gary Langham, Audubon chief scientists, they are seeing different species of birds in out-of-place locations. They’re now curious to see what this year’s findings will bring, what oddities, and exciting new species to examine.
The internet and social media are lending their hand in making communication easier between scientists and the population. Such citizen-driven projects have exploded in the past couple of years, and it’s a good thing too. The movement is enabling more and more people than ever before to become involved in science and make a contribution.
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