One of the easiest ways to get new birders and kids involved in birding is to participate in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), which will take place this year, Feb. 17-20, 2017.
When citizens from around the world count and report the birds they see during the GBBC each year, scientists are able to use this information to track bird populations and migration patterns. Over time, this information helps scientists see trends and determine how bird populations are affected by things such as development and habitat loss, disease and climate change. From this data, scientists are able to make recommendations that will conserve and protect habitat and birds.
The beautiful thing about the GBBC is that anyone can participate from anywhere in the world. You can count birds for 15 minutes from your kitchen window or during a walk downtown or anywhere there are birds. The greater variety of locations we can document, the better.
Additionally, a person’s age or skill level does not hinder participation. Kids are great contributors to the GBBC because their enthusiasm is naturally uninhibited and the challenge of spotting as many birds as they can can be as exciting as a treasure hunt. For beginning birders who want to participate in the GBBC, they might want to consider birding with a buddy or a group, or selecting a location such as a local park that will have a variety of common birds that will be familiar or easy to identify with a field guide. If a beginning birder comes across a bird he or she can’t identify, they can snap a photo and submit it to Sacramento Audubon Society for assistance with its identification.
It’s a great opportunity to learn the basics of birding, meet other birders in the community and participate in real science. Every person’s contribution to the GBBC is meaningful and an important contribution to science and the conservation efforts of all avian species.