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Citizen Science Project #2: The Great Backyard Bird Count

What a great idea: Citizen science projects that give kids the opportunity to participate in real, ongoing scientific research. #homeschool

I did it! Not only have I made progress in my resolution to do more citizen science projects this year, I participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) – a project I have been wanting to do for several years! This year it took place February 12-15, but don’t worry if you missed it. It’s an annual event, so you can do it next year!

I was extra motivated this year because my six-year-old is enamored with birds, and when I say enamored, I mean he not only loves real birds, he plays with toy birds and tweets and chirps almost all day long! So I could not not participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, and on more than one day, my six-year-old helped me watch out for birds.

Last year, however, I tried to participate, and I’m not kidding when I say THERE WERE NO BIRDS IN OUR YARD ALL WEEKEND! I looked out our windows several times, and to my disappointment, I didn’t see one bird (except maybe for a crow). Usually we have many songbirds visiting our wooded yard, but that weekend was very cold, so it was unusually quiet on the “bird byways.”

This year was similar, actually. I can only hypothesize that it was because of the cold weather. I never saw the yellow-bellied sapsucker that frequently visits a tree in our backyard, or the cardinals, or the golden-crowned kinglets, or the occasional pine warbler. (Maybe all those people putting out bird feeders for the GBBC stole our birds away?!) But I did see enough birds to make a count.

Signing up for the GBBC is very easy and quick. It only took me about five minutes to submit a checklist, and I could make checklists for those times when I sat at my window for the purpose of bird watching, or I could submit one for when I happened to notice two Canadian geese while driving home from the store.

So here are the birds I had the pleasure of seeing that weekend in our yard. When I put it all together, it’s certainly not a flimsy list!

  • Red-bellied Woodpecker 
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • American Crow
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Carolina Wren
  • American Robin
  • House Finch

Did you participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count? What did you have the luck of finding?

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