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The Great Backyard Bird Count begins Friday

By Staff | Feb 13, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED The Evening grosbeak as seen from the Audubon field guide is colorful and has been spotted in larger numbers for the last two decades according to the Great Backyard Bird Count which begins Friday, Feb. 15 and ends Monday, Feb. 18.

ITHACA, NY – The Cornell Lab in Ithaca, New York, one of the sponsors of the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), has chartered its findings of collected bird observations and studies over the past 22 years since the annual event began.

This year in the United States and Canada bird lists are more likeliy to include sightings of winter finches and grosbeaks that are moving farther south in what’s called an “irruption.” In 2014 there was a large “irruption” of Snowy Owls. Data shows the effect weather patterns can have on bird movement around the country.

This type of movement is often sparked by poor cone, seed, and berry crops in parts of Canada.

“This year is a very exciting one for backyard birders in the East, headlined by the largest Evening Grosbeak movement in at least two decades,” says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Marshall Iliff, a leader of the eBird program. “From Atlantic Canada to North Carolina, these colorful feeder visitors have been making a splash.”

eBird collects bird observations globally every day of the year and is the online platform used by the Great Backyard Bird Count. They report that this year also is an above-average year for Red Crossbills, Hoary Redpolls and red-breasted Nuthatches.

The maps still show a significant number of Evening Grosbeaks that are now being reported in the West all the way down to the border of Mexico.

This is a great opportunity to learn about birds and watch them with family and friends. Anyone can take part. The bird populations are always shifting and changing according to GBBC.

On the program website at www.gbbc.birdcount.org participants can explore real-time maps and charts that show what others are reporting. There is also a photo contest with details on how to enter and participate.

Ultimately, the bird count and global database help scientists understand how climate change is impacting the environment, and how to better inform everyone about conservation efforts.

Last year during the bird count, bird watchers from more than 100 countries submitted more than 180,000 bird checklists reporting a record 6,456 species.