Backyard Chirper

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Join the 18th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count

_DSC0112With more than 140,000 estimated participants from 135 countries, the 2014 Great Backyard Bird Count was one of the most exciting and record-breaking counts ever.

The number one species that appeared on the most checklists was the Northern Cardinal and the most numerous bird was the Red-winged Blackbird. Scientists use the data to answer questions like how climate change affects bird populations, why certain bird numbers experience ebbs and flows each year, and much more.

In case you missed it last year, the 2015 Great Backyard Bird Count is just around the corner. For four days between Feb. 13 and Feb. 16, people all across the world will be counting birds at any location for at least 15 minutes and the GBBC wants you to join in too.

Getting started is easy. You register for an account or use your existing account if you’ve done the count before. Then count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days during the timeframe. You write down your findings on a checklist for each day. Finally, submit the results on the GBBC website or through the free app.

Chances are you already spend some time looking outside at the birds for at least 15 minutes so why not participate in the GBBC and contribute to science?

Aside from just doing it for science, you also have the opportunity to win a variety of bird feeders. The top winners from six categories of the photo contest will win prizes, but a random drawing from all the participants will take place if you’re not a photographer.

So whether you want something to do for Valentine’s Day weekend with your significant other or want to spend some time outdoors with your grandkids, make the Great Backyard Bird Count part of your life between Feb. 13 and Feb. 16.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.