Great Backyard Bird Count

Since 1998, more than 147,000 people of all ages and walks of life have joined this four-day citizen science project each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.

Photo Credit: Jan Wassink
Photo Credit: Jan Wassink

Scientists use information from the Great Backyard Bird Count, along with observations from other citizen-science projects, such as the Christmas Bird Count, Project FeederWatch, and eBird, to get the “big picture” about what is happening to bird populations. The longer these data are collected, the more meaningful they become in helping scientists investigate far-reaching questions, like these:

• How will the weather and climate change influence bird populations?

• Some birds, such as winter finches, appear in large numbers during some years but not others. Where are these species from year to year, and what can we learn from these patterns?

• How will the timing of birds’ migrations compare with past years?

• How are bird diseases, such as West Nile virus, affecting birds in different regions?

• What kinds of differences in bird diversity are apparent in cities versus suburban, rural, and natural areas?

We invite you to participate! Simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, this year it is February 16 – 19. You can count from any location, anywhere in the world!

     “I used to shoot little birds, but, now I study them!”   6th grader, Somers

    “Thank you for your time that you took to show us if we just open our eyes and ears we can find wonderful things.”  6th grader, Somers

To get started simply go to or contact the Flathead Audubon Conservation Educator at