The Great Outdoors: Great Backyard Bird Count Begins Friday

bluebirdIt’s time for birders to get ready for the 20th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count!

The count is from Friday, February 17, through Monday, February 20.

Getting involved is easy to do. After all, it’s free, and you don’t even have to leave the house if you don’t want to. Of course, it’s one good way to beat the winter blues.

Bird watchers of all ages can count birds. This activity helps create a real-time snapshot of bird populations.

Pennsylvania needs about 3,000 new checklists (That is just 750 new people submitting a checklist for each of the count’s four days to put Pennsylvania over the top and overtake the count’s top state participant, California.)

Here are some of the details:

Participants are asked to count birds for at least 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at

Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from beginning bird watchers to experts, and you can participate from your own backyard, or anywhere in the world.

Each checklist submitted during the GBBC helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how birds are doing and how to protect them and the environment we share.

Last year, more than 160,000 participants submitted their bird observations online, creating the largest instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations ever recorded.

Check out the official website at for more information, and be sure to check out the latest educational and promotional resources.

Bird populations are always shifting and changing.

For example, 2014 GBBC data highlighted a large irruption of Snowy Owls across the northeastern, mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes areas of the United States.

The data also showed the effects that warm weather patterns have had on bird movement around the country.

For more on the results of the 2016 count, take a look at the GBBC Summary, and be sure to check out some of the images in the 2016 GBBC Photo Contest Gallery.

On the program website, participants can explore real-time maps and charts that show what others are reporting during and after the count.

Be sure to check out the Explore a Region tool to get an idea of what you can expect to see in your area during the next count.

For questions and comments, please contact the National Audubon Society at [email protected], or the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at 800-843-2473, or at [email protected].

The Great Backyard Bird Count is made possible, in part, by generous support from Wild Birds Unlimited.


“The Great Outdoors,” sponsored by the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors, is a weekly blog by’s Scott Shindledecker. Plan your next outdoor adventure at or call (814) 849-5197 for more information.

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