Home Annual bird count contributes to global scientific effort of observing migrations

Annual bird count contributes to global scientific effort of observing migrations

Rebecca Barnabi
A Blue Heron stands in the water at York River State Park. Courtesy of Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Identify the birds around you while contributing to science in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count.

Each February, millions count the variety of birds that can be seen and heard in their own backyards during a four-day period. You are invited to participate in the bird count that takes place Feb. 16 to 19, 2024.

The Great Backyard Bird Count brings individuals from all over the world together to connect and share their love of birds while learning about migration patterns. Their observations help scientists better understand global bird populations before one of their annual migrations.

All you need to do is log the birds that you count in a 15-minute period on at least one of the four days of the event. You can download the Merlin Bird ID app to help identify the birds in your area or you can use the eBird Mobile app to enter your bird sightings.

Virginia State Parks offer a unique and scenic location to view various birds this time of the year,” Powhatan State Park Manager Amelia Hulth said. “Our park is perfect for anyone to enjoy birdwatching alone or with friends and family. On Saturday, Feb. 17, we will offer a fun ranger-led activity where guests will discover more about our feathered friends that can be found in the park or in their backyard. For the second part of the program, we’ll use peanut butter or vegetable shortening, sweet gum balls, sticks and pinecones to make feeders that provide tasty treats for our winged friends. You can hang the feeder in your backyard and see who comes to visit.”

Participants can find an event or related program at one of several participating parks, including:

Your participation matters and your bird count contributes to a global study that helps protect bird populations all over the world. The Great Backyard Bird Count is a great way to connect with birds, nature and each other.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.