The 13th annual
Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) results are in and it was a record-breaking
year for participation.
four-day event in February, more than 97,200 bird checklists were submitted
by an estimated 63,000 volunteer bird watchers from across the United States
The GBBC is a
joint project of the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of
Ornithology with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada.
The GBBC It is
open to bird watchers of all ages and its results provide a snapshot of the
whereabouts of more than 600 bird species in North America. “There’s simply
no better way to collect information about all these birds so quickly across
such a large range,” Janis Dickinson, citizen science director at the
Cornell Lab, said in a statement released on April 6.
this year, participants recorded more American Robins than any other bird
species, primarily because of a massive roost of 1.4 million robins in St.
Petersburg, Fla. Put that in perspective: the entire rest of the continent
tallied only 400,321 robins. Reports such as these help document hotspots
for robins and year-to-year changes in their movements across the continent.
At the other
extreme, one of the most dramatic results from this year’s count was the
absence of other bird species, including winter finches such as Pine Siskins
and redpolls. Last year Pine Siskins moved south in such great numbers that
they burst onto the GBBC Top-10 list of most numerous birds for the first
Over time, the
GBBC has captured dramatic swings in the numbers of these species reported
from year to year, fluctuations which may be influenced by the birds’ food
supply and reproductive success far to the north. This year, the siskins
presumably didn’t need to travel as far south to find food.
this year’s GBBC also documented the continuing expansion of an introduced
species across the continent. A dozen years ago, the Eurasian Collared-Dove
was reported in 9 states during the GBBC. This year more than 14,000 doves
were reported in 39 states and provinces.
Robert Petty, western director of field support at Audubon's Education and
Centers, the “new and unusual are always a thrill during the GBBC. Notable
sightings this year included a Crimson-collared Grosbeak in McAllen, Texas,
the first time the species has been reported during the count since 2005.”
become more and more valuable with each passing year,” said Dick Cannings,
program director for Bird Studies Canada. “Over time we’ll be better able to
see significant changes that may occur in the numbers and distributions of
birds which may be tied to climate change, habitat loss, disease, or other
The next Great
Backyard Bird Count is February 18-21, 2011.
The GBBC is
sponsored in part by Wild Birds Unlimited
Top 10 birds
reported on the most checklists in the 2010 GBBC: (1) Northern Cardinal; (2)
Dark-eyed Junco; (3) Mourning Dove; (4) Downy Woodpecker; (5) Blue Jay; (6)
American Goldfinch; (7) Tufted Titmouse; (8) House Finch; (9) American Crow;
(10) Black-capped Chickadee.
“Explore the Results” pages on the GBBC web site at