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Great Backyard Bird Count 2024

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) kicks off tomorrow, Friday, February 16, and runs through Monday, February 19. This annual contributory science project run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is easy to join and your sightings are a valuable piece to this snapshot of bird populations. It is as simple as reporting what birds you see (it’s okay if you don’t know every bird, report what you know!), when you saw it, and where. We’ve assembled a list of resources here for helping the GBBC:

Background and How To:

• How to Participate  (on the GBBC’s site,

• A fantastic eBird Essentials for Educators document; though it’s written for educators it does a great job outlining the project and tools in a way that is helpful for anyone. At the end (on page 18) you’ll also find a handy data collection sheet that can be printed.


Merlin Bird ID app – Many people have been introduced to this app because of its amazing ability to suggest an identification to a bird’s song or call that it detects, but it can do so much more! For the GBBC, when many species aren’t singing, you should try using the “Step by Step” ID tool, which does a really good job narrowing down options and identifying the bird you are seeing after you answer five questions about it. Best of all, the app is free! There are step-by-step instructions available here: Using Merlin Bird ID

• Tools of the Trade (webinar) – As part of our Birding Basics series this winter, one class was focused on binoculars and field guides. There is a recording of that available here
(Passcode: EHW!j8gu)

Birds of the World – This is the best, most comprehensive resource for information on any bird around the world. It typically requires an annual subscription, but during the GBBC it is free! There is also a promo code, GBBC24, that gives you 25% off a subscription, which is a great deal.

Hands on Opportunities:

Winter Carnival, Saturday, February 17,  10 am to 2 pm, at Gilsland Farm, Falmouth – Our annual celebration of winter weather and wildlife! Visitors of all ages are invited to learn, create, and play at a variety of indoor and outdoor activity stations. Field Naturalist Andy Kapinos will be on hand to point out birds and talk about how to participate in the GBBC.

Winter Ecology Series: Winter Bird Walk, Saturday, February 17, 10 am, at Fields Pond, Holden – Winter birding can present new challenges as well as great opportunities for the beginning birder. Join us as we observe our hardy year round residents such as Cardinals and chickadees and look for less common migratory birds like Dark-eyed Juncos and Redpolls!

Winter Outdoor Extravaganza, Saturday, February 17, at Range Pond State Park, Poland – Welcoming folks of all identities, abilities, and experience levels into the Maine outdoors for a day of fun, celebration, and learning! Staff Naturalist Doug Hitchcox will be leading a bird walk at 9 am.