About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

#GreatBackyardBirdCount (#GBBC): Frequently Asked Questions

* How is the information from the GBBC used?
Bird populations are constantly changing. No team of scientists could hope to keep track of the complicated patterns of movement of species around the world. The information ordinary volunteer citizen scientist share in the GBBC, help shape an overall picture of how birds are affected by environmental changes, land development, and human impact.

* Why is the count in February?
The GBBC is held in February to create a snapshot of the distribution of birds just before spring migrations in March.

* Where should I count birds?

You can count birds anywhere in the world from any location. Different locations can help pull together a whole picture of bird distributions.

* How long should I count birds?
Spend at least 15 minutes at a location. If you can spend more than 15 minutes, you’ll get a better sense of which birds are in your area. If you’d like to do more than one count at the same location, or counts at several locations, then you can submit separate checklists each time you do so. Each count contributes.

* What does the “Are you reporting all species” question mean?
This is one of the most important questions. If you are reporting a full list of the species that you were able to identify by sight or sound then please select “Yes.” However, if you are intentionally excluding certain species you could identify, such as House Sparrows or American Crows, please be sure to select “No.” The question is not an attempt to determine if you were able to identify every bird you saw but rather whether your list is just reporting one or a few highlights or a more complete accounting of the birds you found. Again, click “yes” to indicate you are including everything you could identify—click “yes” even if you saw some birds you could not identify.

* Do I have to create an account to participate?
If you’re new to the count, or have not participated since before the 2013 merger with eBird, you must create a free online account to enter your checklists. Click here for more info on how to get started. You can also download the free eBird Mobile app to enter data on a mobile device.

* What is eBird?
Inspired by the success of the four-day Great Backyard Bird Count, eBird was launched in 2002 to encourage people to record the birds they observe every day, year round. Even after the GBBC is over, you can continue to record birds you see. You can keep track of when you observe your first hummingbird of the year or mark the visit of an uncommon bird that is just passing through like a warbler or White-crowned Sparrow. eBird will also let you see if anyone else in you area is seeing the same thing.

If you are new to the Great Backyard Bird Count
you can learn more in the participant toolkit (http://gbbc.birdcount.org/get-started/), which includes simple participation instructions, an optional data form, U.S. and Canada bird lists, frequently asked questions, info on great birding apps, and other resources to help participants identify tricky bird species.

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