The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It's free, fun, and easy-and it helps the birds."

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Bird watchers from around the world can join in
the 2013 GBBC! Photo by Joan Condon, Georgia,
2012 GBBC
 

The GBBC is Going Global!

Great news! When the next GBBC rolls around February 15-18, the GBBC will be integrated with eBird--a worldwide bird data collection program that allows users to keep track of their personal bird sightings and checklists. The change means participants will create a free account in order to enter bird checklists for the GBBC, starting in 2013. This function is under development right now but you will be able to create your account when you enter your first checklist for the GBBC via this website, a process that will only take a few moments. Creating this account only has to be done once. It also means that, for the first time, anyone anywhere in the world can participate!

If you are already an eBird user (or participate in NestWatch, Project FeederWatch, or other citizen-science projects) you can use the same username and login information to participate in the GBBC. Just go birding during the GBBC period and submit your checklists through the GBBC website or through eBird—your data will appear on all GBBC output. 

There are many benefits to the new and improved GBBC: 


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Brandt's Cormorants. Photo by Jason
Taylor, Washington, 2012 GBBC

Global access: GBBC reports can be submitted from any location in the world via the GBBC site, eBird, or through any customized eBird portals, such as eBird California, eBird Canada, or aVerAves in Mexico. Data entry will be available In English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese, with bird-list names translated into 19 languages or regional names.

Precise locations: With more accurate location data, using Google maps, your GBBC observations will be more useful to scientists and conservationists and easier for you to track over time.

Year-round access: Although the GBBC is a 4-day project, you can use your account to track your bird sightings year round using eBird.

Better visualization: Interactive maps will allow you to explore bird observations in much greater detail than ever before.

Corrections: If you realize you've entered erroneous information, you can go back into your reports anytime to make corrections.

GBBC checklists filed from 1998 through 2012 will still be available on the current GBBC website. Eventually, that historic data will be merged into eBird and all personal sightings will be available in one place.

The back-end work to make the integration with eBird possible is underway, so you won’t see any changes just yet. However, we’ve updated the GBBC FAQ sections to reflect the coming changes to the GBBC data-entry process, so please give it a look. You can also print out the revised downloadable instructions. The 2013 GBBC PowerPoint presentation also reflects the coming changes.

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Female Northern Cardinal by Jennifer
Taggart, Pennsylvania, 2012 GBBC

What do you need to do right now?
Just make yourself familiar with the upcoming changes by reading through the website material in the "What is the GBBC?" and "How to Participate" sections as well as the FAQs.

You can create your GBBC account when the count starts on February 15. If you're already using eBird, you don't have to do anything. Please enter your checklists via the eBird website as usual. They will still be included in the GBBC data. 

If you want to try things out ahead of time, feel free to create an account directly in eBird--but be sure to remember your username and password  so you can use them again for the GBBC in February and for all future counts!

If you have any questions not addressed by the FAQ sections or other materials on the website, please let us know at gbbc@cornell.edu.