How to Participate

Birding is for anyone.
Clockwise from top left: Maria Kalardi in Sweden, Pradip Mishra in India, Taylor Long in United States, Irvin Calicut in Kuwait.

Participating is easy, fun to do alone or with others, and can be done anywhere you find birds.

Step 1: Decide where you will watch birds.

Step 2: Watch birds for 15 minutes or more, at least once over the four days, February 14–17, 2025.

Step 3: Identify all the birds you see or hear within your planned time/location and use the best tool for sharing your bird sightings:

  • If you are a beginning bird admirer and new to bird identification, try using the Merlin Bird ID app to tell us what birds you are seeing or hearing.
  • If you have participated in the count before and want to record numbers of birds, try the eBird Mobile app or enter your bird list on the eBird website (desktop/laptop).

If you already use Merlin or eBird, all entries over the 4 days count towards GBBC. Keep doing what you are doing!

Three Ways to Enter Data: Options and Step-by-Step Instructions

Merlin Bird ID

If you are NEW to birdwatching and bird identification and have a smartphone, we recommend you use the Merlin Bird ID app to enter your first bird. It is FREE and easy to use.

Merlin covers bird species from 7 continents and is available in 18 languages.

Need instructions on how to use Merlin? Follow these.

eBird Mobile

If you are already using eBird to track your birding activity or an experienced bird watcher, the FREE eBird Mobile app is a fast way to enter your bird lists right from the palm of your hand.

Need instructions on how to use eBird Mobile? Follow these.

eBird sightings in a wintery evergreen scene.
eBird sightings in winter.

Desktop or Laptop

If you prefer to enter your sightings on a computer, perhaps after making a list while on a hike or watching your feeders, we’ll walk you through how.

Need instructions on how to use eBird on a computer? Follow these.

Person sitting at computer at sunrise.
Simon Abrams, Unsplash CC

Downloading a Checklist of Birds

If you want to download a checklist of birds found in your area, watch this video first. It will show you how to do this on This may be helpful if you are manually tallying your birds before you enter them into the

Learn how to print a checklist of birds found in your area.

Note: You can start entering bird lists at midnight local time on the first day of the count, anywhere in the world. Data entry remains open until March 1, but the information you enter should only be from the four days of the Great Backyard Bird Count.

Map or Find Community Birding Events

Are you birding for GBBC as a part of a community event? Add it to the map so others can join you and so we have a better sense of how the world comes together to celebrate birds.

Looking to join a birding event for GBBC? Use the map to find events near you.

Events happen all over the world during GBBC.

If you are participating as a group, see instructions on Group Counting for tips on how to make this seamless.