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I don’t know about you, but typically by February I’m feeling a bit of spring fever. This year is no exception! The snow and cold temperatures have me longing for green grass and warm, fresh air.
Our yard is full of birds during the winter. Somehow, taking time to focus on them for a few days reminds me that spring is coming. The Great Backyard Bird Count is a great event that gets my mind off the winter cold. Best of all, I’ve found events like this can encourage kids to become self-directed learners. Oftentimes introducing kids to an event will spark curiosity about that subject. Kids then naturally become seekers of information.
The Great Backyard Bird Count is a citizen-science project which collects data that can be used by scientists to give them an overall picture of the bird population. It’s powerful for kids to know their efforts are part of a large collective effort.
What’s so great about the Great Backyard Bird Count?
1. You don’t have to be a birding expert to take part.
Is a robin the only bird you can identify? That’s fine. GBBC encourages you to count the birds you can identify. Kids are often inspired to learn when they are involved. This event very well may have them off on their own learning quest as they seek to identify the feathered friends they see. Let them be the lead researchers!
You can arm the kids with a bird guide (my personal favorite —> Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America) or download one of many birding apps available for your cell phone or tablet.
Related post—->My Favorite Bird Apps
There are also lots of resources available so kids can learn more about birds on the GBBC for kids website.
2. Participation requires only a bit of time each day.
According to their website, GBBC simply asks participants to “Count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the GBBC.” You can count longer than 15 minutes. You can participate one day or all 4 days. It’s up to you!
Our kitchen and dining area has lots of windows, so we have always sat for a few minutes at the table looking out the window and breakfast and lunch. The kids kept a field guide and a list on the table so we could identify and record the birds and officially report them later.
3. Submitting your observations is easy.
After observing and identifying the birds in your area, it is time to report your findings. You can submit your counts on the GBBC website or through the eBird app. The eBird app is FREE in the iTunes and Google Play Store .To make things even easier, GBBC has downloadable reporting instructions.
More Bird Resources
Want to learn even more about birds? Here are some great resources we recommend.
- Why Study Backyard Birds
- Notebooking Backyard Birds
- Attracting Birds To Your Backyard
- Bird Beak Experiment
- Easy To Make Bird Feeders
- Bald Eagle Unit Study Ideas
- The Great Backyard Bird Count
- Hands-On Bird Nest Study
- Hummingbird Field Trip
Leah Nieman is a wife and mom of 2 homeschool graduates. She’s a popular speaker who encourages parents to walk with their kids through the world of social media and technology so we raise a generation of digitally responsible young adults. You can find her eBooks Connected: Apps All Parents Should Know, Let’s Get Social: A Straightforward Guide for Kids on Social Media, and Connected: A Parent’s Guide to Snapchat, as well as tips on technology and social media at leahnieman.com.