This weekend marks the 16th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)! This four-day event from February 15 to 18 engages communities across the country in bird watching and also provides researchers with valuable snapshots of how different populations are doing.
Why counting birds is important
Scientists and bird enthusiasts can learn a lot by knowing where birds are. Bird populations are dynamic and constantly in flux. This makes it very difficult for a single scientist or team to document and understand the behaviors and migrations of the many species that live in the United States.
Researchers can use information collected during the GBBC to better understand how environmental changes are impacting bird populations.
According to national organizer the Audubon Society, participants turned in more than 104,000 online checklists last year, creating the continent’s largest instantaneous snapshot of bird populations ever recorded! Let’s DOUBLE that number this year!
How YOU can participate
Everyone is welcome (from first-time watchers to experts) to participate over the weekend. Birding is an easy way to spend time as a family and connect with nature in a way that “counts”! Participating in this weekend’s count is as easy as creating an account on GBBC’s website and counting birds in your backyard for at least 15 minutes.
To help make the most of this experience, National Aquarium will be offering bird count activities throughout the weekend to get visitors of all ages interested in birding!
Highlights of activities happening at our Baltimore venue this weekend include:
- Bird Watching 101 Station: Stop by the Overlook to learn how to use binoculars, spotting scopes and bird field guides! After learning how to use these tools, guests will have the opportunity to identify different birds in the Inner Harbor. We’ll be handing out ID guides and checklists so you can participate in the count after your visit.
- Birding in Animal Planet Australia and the Upland Tropical Rain Forest: Guests will be given ID guides for the species of birds living in both exhibits. After you’ve tried your hand at birding, stick around for presentations from staff in both exhibits on the many species we have in our living collections!
- Bird-Themed Animal Encounters: Now that you can spot them like a pro, get up close and personal with some of our bird residents and learn even more about the different species and what can be done to save these amazing creatures!
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start counting!