Scientist for a Day: the Great Backyard Bird Count

By Ian Miyashiro
Environmental Educator

Growing up I wanted to be a scientist, traveling around the world studying animals. I ended up being more of a science teacher, but from time to time I get to help with projects that allow me to be a scientist for a day. The 14th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is one of these projects anyone can take part in.

The two biggest names in the study of birds, Audubon and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, have teamed up with Bird Studies Canada to collect data from birders throughout the United States and Canada. Last year more than 97,000 checklists were submitted, totaling 603 species and more than 11.3 million birds observed.

VINS will again offer the opportunity for those visiting the Nature Center February 21 to be a citizen scientist for the day and add to our observations and final checklist. From expert birders with spotting scopes to first-time birders, all are welcome. Binoculars will be available for those without.

From 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., we will be taking surveys every 15 minutes and tally the highest number of individuals from each species observed. At the end of the day, we will add our list to the tens of thousands of others. Last year’s data showed many changes in species and their numbers seen, seasonal pattern changes in migrations, and even alterations in the range of species over time.

Our VINS GBBC headquarters will have staff on hand to assist with identification, crafts for kids, and plenty of information to help you be a citizen scientist throughout the year. Check out the GBBC web site, the VINS event page, and be ready to count with us at VINS February 21, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.!

Photo above by Michele Black, OH; GBBC2010.


  1. jfrancishill on February 18, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    ~The Meadow~
    in all its beauty
    by the rush of time
    Love seldom fawns
    life happens
    slow motion.

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