Great Backyard Bird Count goes global, shatters records

From Antarctica to Afghanistan, birdwatchers from 101 countries made history in the first global Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), Feb. 15 to 18, 2013.

In the largest worldwide bird count ever, birdwatchers set new records, counting more than 25 million birds on 116,000 checklists in four days — and recording 3,138 species, nearly one-third of the world’s total bird species. The data continued to flow in until March 1.

Building on the success of the GBBC in the United States and Canada for the past 15 years, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, and Bird Studies Canada opened the count to the world for the first time this year, powered by eBird, a system that enables people to report birds globally in real time and explore the results online. Bird watchers are invited to keep counting every day of the year at www.eBird.org.

“This is a milestone for citizen science in so many respects — number of species, diversity of countries involved, total participants, and number of individual birds recorded,” said Cornell Lab of Ornithology director John Fitzpatrick. “We hope this is just the start of something far larger, engaging the whole world in creating a detailed annual snapshot of how all our planet’s birds are faring as the years go by.”

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