The Christmas Bird Count season may be over, but there is still plenty of time for birdwatchers to participate in citizen science projects this winter. Coming up on February 17-20, 2006, is the ninth annual Great Backyard Bird Count, a joint project of the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
To participate, select one block of time during the count period to watch birds in your backyards. While you are watching, make note of what species you see, how many individuals there are of each species, and how long you counted. Then submit your data here: http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/. If you do not have a backyard, as is the case for many urban residents, you are still encouraged to participate by counting birds in a local park or along your street. Every bit of data helps, and the more ground covered, the better.
Like the Christmas Bird Count and other citizen science projects, the Great Backyard Count provides scientists with important bird population data. Scientists have been able to track declines of some species, and changes in the wintering range of other species, thanks to the data collected in this project.