As we grow closer to February’s “Great Backyard Bird Count,” it’s easy to wonder about the importance of counting birds. How can something so simple really make a difference for the habitats and livelihood of birds? Can an individual really help out thousands of birds colonies around the country? Short answer: YES!
How can counting birds make a difference?
Scientists, conservationists, and bird enthusiasts can all gain a lot from the data reflected in the Great Backyard Bird Count. Especially given the fact that they are a flighted animal, numbers on bird populations are always changing. There’s little chance that one small group of scientists could accurately keep track of all of the changing bird patterns throughout a year. That’s where the citizen-scientists come in! The more data that comes in, the easier it is for scientists to track patterns and similarities across the board for these bird species. This data helps them answer important questions on a variety of subjects, including the ones below:
- Climate change and how it affects populations
- Habitat locations
- Migration patterns
- Bird diseases
- Bird diversity in rural, suburban, and urban areas
What is the Great Backyard Bird Count?
According to the official website: “Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. Now, more than 160,000 people of all ages and walks of life worldwide join the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.”
Great Backyard Bird Count at EPZ
Register for a free and interactive bird-counting session at the zoo with our education department! Learn more here!