Join the Great Backyard Bird Count
 February 18-21, 2011

Marbled Godwit by Sharon Millgan, MS
2010 GBBC
October 5, 2010—The 14th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is coming up February 18-21, 2011. The four-day event is free and is open to bird watchers of all ages and skill levels. Participants watch birds for any length of time on one or more days of the count and enter their tallies at The results provide a snapshot of the whereabouts of more than 600 bird species. The GBBC is a joint project of the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada.

The 2010 GBBC was another record-breaker with more than 97,300 bird checklists submitted by an estimated 63,000 volunteers from across the United States and Canada. These volunteers found connecting with nature to be great fun.

“I enjoy being outdoors and birding is a source of relaxation and stress relief!” wrote one participant. “Looking and listening for birds forces me to focus on the environment around me at a higher level of intensity, and notice things I might otherwise miss.”

From reports of rare species to large-scale tracking of bird movements, the GBBC provides insight into the lives of bird populations.

American Robin by Nick Saunders,SK, 2010 GBBC
A few highlights from the 2010 GBBC:

• A massive roost of nearly 1.5 million American Robins was reported in St. Petersburg, Florida. Will they be back in 2011?

• The invasive Eurasian Collared-Dove keeps expanding its range. It was reported in 39 states and provinces during the 2010 GBBC. Where will this hardy dove show up next?

• Tree Swallows showed dramatic increases in numbers during the last count, possibly because of warmer temperatures and earlier migration. Will that pattern hold true again for GBBC 2011?

Read the complete 2010 summary here.

Mid-February is chosen as the time for the Great Backyard Bird Count because it offers a good picture of the birds typically found throughout the winter months. It also coincides with migration for some species, such as the Sandhill Crane. That window of transition affords an opportunity to detect changes in timing for northward migration.

On the website, participants can explore real-time maps and charts that show what others are reporting during the count. The site has tips to help identify birds and special materials for educators.

GBBC participant surveys have shown that people really enjoy exploring the data and say they learn more about their local birds. “I looked at data with my 9-year-old son to help him learn about birds in our area,” wrote one parent. “We talked about migration, bird flyways and compared bird counts for our area (coastal South Carolina) with where his cousins live (Wisconsin and Alabama). We found out our area has a much greater variety of birds in February than either of the other two.” 

Photo by Kim Estep, OH, 2010 GBBC


Participants may also enter the GBBC photo contest by uploading images taken during the count. Many images will be featured in the GBBC website’s photo gallery. All participants are entered in a drawing for prizes that include bird feeders, binoculars, books, CDs, and many other great birding products.

For more information about the GBBC, visit Or contact the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at (800) 843-2473,  or Audubon at (202) 861- 2242 ext. 3050, In Canada, participants may contact Bird Studies Canada at 1-888-448-2473 ext. 134 or

The Great Backyard Bird Count is made possible, in part, by generous support from Wild Birds Unlimited.


Editors: Please go the GBBC News Room for high-resolution images, top-10 lists, FAQS, and results of the 2010 count. To find out if a participant is available for an interview in your area, please get in touch with one of the media contacts listed below.

Media Contacts:

• Pat Leonard, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, (607) 254-2137,   
• Delta Willis, Audubon, (212) 979-3197,

• Dick Cannings, Bird Studies Canada, (250) 493-3393, (Pacific time zone)


The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a nonprofit membership institution interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website at

Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Our national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in conservation. 

Bird Studies Canada ( administers regional, national, and international research and monitoring programs that advance the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of wild birds and their habitats. We are Canada's national body for bird conservation and science, and we are a non-governmental charitable organization.  


National Audubon Society
225 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014
Call: (212) 979-3000

Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Call toll-free (800) 843-2473

Bird Studies Canada
Box 160
Port Rowan, ON N0E 1M0 Canada
Call: (888) 448-2473 or (519) 586-3531

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