Feb 11th, 2021

Citizen Science in Your Backyard!

Calling all birders, bird enthusiasts, and even the bird curious. The annual Great Backyard Bird Count is quickly approaching, and YOU have an opportunity to participate in something global and meaningful right in your very own backyard.

Northern Cardinal in snow. One of the many birds you may see on a bird count

A Northern Cardinal in the snow! Image by Jerry Uhlman.

Great Backyard Bird Count sign at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Look for signage like this when you visit the Garden if you want to count birds here this weekend. Otherwise, you can count birds in your own back yard!

Anytime February 12-15,  2021, take as little as 15-minutes to count some feathered friends in your backyard, or in your favorite outdoor location (like Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden!). After you complete your count, submit your bird list and help researchers get a sense of how bird populations are doing.  Throughout the Garden, you’ll find signage with QR codes that link to helpful information on participating and the Merlin Bird ID app—another excellent tool for the Great Backyard Bird Count. Scan the codes with your smartphone and get to counting.

Last year, the Garden welcomed guests of all ages and experience levels to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count. Our Garden visitors recorded 32 species and a total of 571 individual birds — all in one day, and over the course of four chilly morning hours! Although you can spot birds at all hours of the day, morning is the best time for bird watching. The early bird catches the worm! Pro tip: Use last year’s Garden bird checklists (PDF) to help you count and identify birds in your area.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an example of citizen science, or community science, where the public volunteers in collaborative scientific research in order to increase scientific knowledge. Being a citizen scientist is a great way to connect with and learn more about the natural world.

COVID-19 Public Health Statement: Watching birds is a safe and enjoyable activity we can do during the COVID-19 global pandemic. For the 2021 Great Backyard Bird Count, we strongly urge participants to comply with all current country, province, state, or municipal Covid-19 regulations and guidelines. This includes, but is not limited to, social distancing while bird watching and wearing a mask when birding with others. Thank you for protecting yourself and your community while celebrating the wonders of birds.

yellow bird on branch eats seed part of the wildscapes in winter

Seeds from summer’s spent flowers are winter’s fare for the goldfinch. Image by Tom Hennessy

Inspired by and attracted to all walks of life, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Guest Engagement Specialist, Beth Anne Booth focuses her energy on creating meaningful experiences for everybody, mostly in the forms of programming, interpretation and enhancing the everyday Garden visit. She looks to nature for creative solutions and believes that what we all need as humans is connection and a sense of belonging.

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