Science Through The Great Backyard Bird Count!

January 31st, 2006 by ClickSchooling Leave a reply »

Recommended Website:
The Great Backyard Bird Count

Each year, during the winter months, The Great Backyard Bird Count is sponsored by Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. You can join the fun and help scientists collect data about bird populations. Homeschool families, classroom students, bird enthusiasts and people from all walks of life participate to help researchers understand more about varying species of birds. They can learn a lot by knowing where the birds are. As the website explains:

Now that winter has gripped much of the continent, what are our birds doing? Bird populations are dynamic, they are constantly in flux. We want to take a snapshot of North American bird populations and YOU can help us. Everyone’s contribution is important. It doesn’t matter whether you identify, count, and report the 5 species coming to your backyard feeder or the 75 species you see during a day’s outing to a wildlife refuge. Your data can help us answer many questions:

  • How will this winter’s snow and cold temperatures influence bird populations?
  • Where are the WINTER finches and other irruptive species?
  • Will late winter movements of many SONGBIRD and waterfowl species be as far north as they were last year?

The data that you collect will be combined with other data to give us an immense picture of our winter birds. Each year that these data are collected makes them more important and meaningful.

As the scientists see patterns, discover new questions and insights, they will update you via the e-newsletter. And, because this is an on-going annual project, next year, they will contact you to ask for your help again.

Here is how to participate:

  1. Go get easy to follow instructions, local checklists, and more info.
  2. Count the birds in your backyard, park, or refuge. For each kind of bird, write down the highest number of individuals you see at any one time. Take part on one, two, three, or four days. Watch the birds for as long as possible (even just 15 minutes is a big help).
  3. Report your results online.
  4. View the results.

That’s all there is to it. Your family can learn a lot about birds through observation, and help scientists collect data for research. It’s a great family science project, that requires a short commitment of time for a few days during the winter season. You can even participate for just one day!


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