That magical time of year when our thoughts turn to the ones we love is fast approaching. No, I’m not talking about Valentine’s Day. It’s time for the Great Backyard Bird Count!

The Great Backyard Bird Count, or GBBC for those in the know, is an annual four-day event that exhorts bird watchers across North America to count birds in their backyards, favorite patches, or treasured hotspots in the interest of citizen science. The result is a  real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent.

In 2008, participants reported more than 9.8 million birds of 635 species via more than 85,000 checklists, an all-time count record.  Here are six facts you should know about this year’s GBBC:

  1. The 2009 Great Backyard Bird Count is February 13-16.
  2. The GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society.
  3. Thanks to Rob Fergus (aka Birdchaser), the GBBC has both a blog and a Twitter group.
  4. The Great Backyard Bird Count is perfect for kids as well as adults.
  5. Last year’s GBBC has a photo contest. This year’s event will have one too.
  6. Participation is easy and free, an unstoppable combination!

As always, I’ll be participating in this year’s GBBC. Last year’s count was very good for me. I have high hopes for this year as well since for once, I actually have a backyard! How about you? Will you be participating in the 2009 Great Backyard Bird Count? Where will you be counting birds?

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.