October 15, 2021

Join the 2014 Great Backyard Bird Count

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From eBird Caribbean2008-12q-achumbrd-2cvr-270x251

An Antillean Crested Hummingbird (Orthorhyncus cristatus) from Antigua. Photograph by David Rayner.

February 14-17 (Friday to Monday) is the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), a world-wide weekend-long bird counting effort held each winter. To participate, all you have to do is go birding during this time frame and make sure to enter your checklists in eBird Caribbean. Despite the name, participants are free (and are encouraged) to go birding anywhere and in as many locations as they prefer. The GBBC was one of the first demonstrations that the internet could be used to collect bird checklists from bird enthusiasts, and indeed it was instrumental in the creation of eBird back in 2002. If you aren’t already excited about this weekend, read on to hear why we think you should be.

Join the global team!

Team eBird thinks of the GBBC as the Great Global Bird Count. Let’s see what a global team of birders can do. eBird is now a massive effort to document bird populations around the world over time, but GBBC represents a chance to take a 4-day snapshot. Everyone who submits a checklist this weekend will be part of the global effort.

How many birds can we find? There are 10,324 species in the world and eBird has recorded almost 96% of them. The 2013 GBBC recorded 4,258 species (41.2%). Can eBirders and GBBC participants team up in 2014 to find 5,162 species—50% of the world’s species in one long weekend? How many of those species can eBird Caribbean users contribute this year?

Even more important than the number of species is the number of checklists. How many complete checklists can you submit this weekend? So far during the month of February, eBirders in the Caribbean have submitted about 120 checklists per day (almost 1,450 total checklists as of Wednesday, the 12th). If everyone participates in the GBBC, how many checklists can we add in one weekend?

How will your area fare? eBird Caribbean has powerful new ways to explore location-based information. Just go to Explore Data and click the new “Explore Location” feature. Check out the stats for your country, state, province, or county, and drill down deeper to explore an individual park, refuge, preserve, or other hotspot. Rally your friends to make the best showing you can in the areas you live!

Get your friends involved!

To meet these challenges, what we really need is to get more people involved. Do you have a birding friend in another area? Get in touch, and ask her or him to join the Great (Global) Backyard Bird Count, and see if they can add a unique city, province, or country, or find a unique species. Perhaps you know some birders that aren’t using eBird Caribbean. This is great excuse to introduce your friends to eBird Caribbean and hopefully get them hooked!

Take someone birding!

Take a non-birding friend with you this weekend and show them why you love birding and eBirding so much. We believe strongly in the power of birders to affect wise conservation practices and in the power of birds to connect people to the environment around them. If each of us engages someone new in birding each year, we can truly grow a global army of people to better understand, protect, and care about birds and the ecosystem that connects us to them.

How to follow the GBBC stats this weekend

In order to see how well our global team is doing this weekend, we invite you to check out the newly redesigned GBBC home page. Although tailored for the GBBC, this page has most of the same functionality as eBird Caribbean. You can submit data here or in eBird Caribbean—it all goes to the same place (if you do you a count at a wetland, please enter it using one of the CWC protocols on the eBird Caribbean page). Remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to your backyard. Your My eBird stats will be the same here as they would anywhere in eBird Caribbean. The key difference is the Explore Data page. The output here is tailored for the GBBC, so you can see the following:

Location Pages for GBBC 2014 – This is the most exciting new feature. Enter any location and see the species list, birding activity, recent visits and other information restricted to the count period. Be sure to use eBird Caribbean to explore this for other periods as well!

Hotspot Pages for GBBC 2014 – Access hotspot pages from your county or state page. Scroll down the right side to see the list of Top Hotspots and then click the “More hotspots…” link at the bottom. This list can be sorted by most activity or least activity, depending on if you want to find top spots or places where your observations are most needed. Click any hotspot name to see the Hotspot page and that site’s activity during the 2014 GBBC. Make sure your favorite spots make a good showing this coming weekend!

Range Maps for GBBC 2014 – See where and how often each species is found around the world. Zoom in and click on the points to see individual records.

Top100 for GBBC 2014 – Check out the region-by-region contributions of individuals in terms of both number of checklists and number of species reported.

Yard/Patch for GBBC 2014 – If you have registered a yard or patch, you can track your stats and compare to others for the GBBC weekend only.

Any one of these outputs can be posted as a link. Drum up support in your local birding community by posting these statistics on your blog, Facebook page, listserv, or your favorite social media of choice. If you want to compare results, we encourage you to use eBird Caribbean to explore February 2013 patterns and compare them to February 2014 patterns. Try this for eBird Caribbean range maps for different species and see what interesting patterns you can find. Here are some other interesting stats from 2013 to measure against this year’s event.

And make sure to check in with the eBird Live Submissions Map this weekend. This is awesome enough now, but we know it will really get hot this weekend. The hottest times to watch this map are likely to be 4-9pm (Eastern Standard Time or GMT -5) on Sunday and Monday; last year our best hour was 5pm on Sunday night when a whopping 2937 checklists were submitted. Please enjoy this year’s GBBC and thanks for your important role in making eBird Caribbean such a valuable resource!

Team eBird and Doug Weidemann

Special thanks to David Rayner for use of the photograph.

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