Mark your calendars because February 14th is coming right up, and we all know what that means. It’s time for the Great Backyard Bird Count and, okay, Valentine’s Day. The GBBC is conducted over a four-day period in mid-February (14th – 17th) to get a snap-shot of winter bird populations prior to spring migration. It is not often that you get a chance for a twofer – help the birds and send someone a special Valentine message. Just follow the following three-step directions to get started.

1.Create a free GBBC account if you have never participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count or any other Cornell Lab citizen-science project, or have not participated in the GBBC since 2013. If you already created an account for the GBBC in the past, or if you’re already registered with eBird or another Cornell Lab citizen-science project, you can use your existing user name and password.

2.Count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the GBBC. You can count for longer than that if you wish! Count birds in as many places and on as many days as you like—one day, two days, or all four days. Submit a separate checklist for each new day, for each new location, or for the same location if you counted at a different time of day. Estimate the number of individuals of each species you saw during your count period.

3.Enter your results on the GBBC website by clicking the “Submit Observations” tab on the home page. You may also download the free eBird Mobile app to enter data on a mobile device. If you already participate in the eBird citizen-science project, please use eBird to submit your sightings during the GBBC. Your checklists will count toward the GBBC.

Use the following link to learn more about this important citizen science project.