How to Participate

People from around the world participating in the count weekend.
Great Backyard Bird Count Participants from around the world. Photo credit clockwise from the top left image: Deepa J in India, Yuliia Mamedova in Ukraine, Rafaela Wolf de Carvalho in Brazil, and Cheryl Taylor in United States.

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 17-20, 2023.

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 contribute to Merlin or eBird, continue what you are doing! All entries over the 4-days count towards GBBC.

Join Our Upcoming Webinar

Wednesday, February 15, 1:00-2:00 p.m Eastern

During a live Q&A session, experts from Audubon, Birds Canada, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology will share their tips for making birdwatching easier and more enjoyable for people of all ages and abilities. Get your questions answered about bird ID, counting birds, and more–you’ll leave confident and ready to be part of this fun event!

Boreal Chickadee by Simon Boivin/Macaulay Library (ML417743011)

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


Merlin Bird ID

If you are NEW to bird watching 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.

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.

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.

Want to print a checklist of birds commonly seen in your area? Watch the video below.

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 eBird.org. This may be helpful if you are manually tallying your birds before you enter them into the eBird.org.

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.

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