Project Goal

Each February, for four days, the world comes together for the love of birds. Over these four days we invite people to spend time in their favorite places watching and counting as many birds as they can find and reporting them to us. These observations help scientists better understand global bird populations before one of their annual migrations.

Our History

Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) was the first online participatory-science project (also referred to as community science or citizen science) to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real time. Birds Canada joined the project in 2009 to provide an expanded capacity to support participation in Canada. In 2013, we became a global project when we began entering data into eBird, the world’s largest biodiversity-related participatory science (community science or citizen science) project. Charley Harper’s original art was used to promote the GBBC until we redesigned and launched a new website in 2021.

Previous Great Backyard Bird count branding image of Charlie Harper cardinal and parrot.
Charley Harper art used on Great Backyard Bird Count website through 2019.

Each year our participation grows as more people of all ages around the world spend their weekend counting, learning about, and celebrating birds. See results from past years highlighting the data and trends from the Great Backyard Bird Counts.

Joint Partnership

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an inter-organizational effort between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society, and Birds Canada. We work together to bring the joys of birdwatching to our members.

Join Us

Whether you count one bird or hundreds, participating is easy and fun for all ages! Let birds bring you closer to nature and to each other by spending four days in February with us!

Large flocks of Brown Pelicans and gulls in California, United States.
Brown Pelicans and gulls by Tony Peebles/GBBC.
Photo by Michael Laughlin in United States/GBBC.

The GBBC became the focal point of my day, and the birds were so familiar that I became worried when I hadn’t seen a particular Red-breasted Nuthatch that always comes to call at our feeder. Happily, he arrived just as I was finishing my count.

Anonymous Great Backyard Bird Count Participant