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The Great Backyard Bird Count

Orange-hued bird with fish in mouth sitting on branch.

The 21st annual Great Backyard Bird Count is taking place February 16th through 19th in North Carolina communities and across the globe – in backyards, parks, nature centers, on hiking trails, school grounds, balconies and beaches – anywhere you find birds.

“This is a great opportunity for bird lovers of all ages to get outside, get involved and make an impact,” said Curtis Smalling, director of conservation for Audubon North Carolina. “The data collected by local communities will provide our biologists with key insights on where birds are thriving and where they need greater support. It will also give us critical information on how climate change is impacting birds.”

Anyone in the world can become a scientist and count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count. Participation is free and easy—simply go outside to your backyard or the nearest park and write down any birds you see for 15 minutes or longer. Report your sightings online at

Bird watchers from 140 countries participated in last year’s count, documenting almost 6,000 species – nearly half the possible bird species in the world—on more than 170,000 bird checklists. North Carolina continues to be a top-performing state for the GBBC, ranking 9th in 2017. North Carolina birders documented 213 species in 2017, turning in 4,220 checklists.

To kick off this year’s GBBC, North Carolina’s First Lady Kristin Cooper and Audubon North Carolina will host a class of 5th graders at the Executive Mansion in Raleigh. From 9-10:30am, anyone can watch the count on Facebook LIVE, learn from local bird experts, and comment to share the birds they’re spotting in their own backyards.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada and is made possible in part by sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.