16th GBBC merges with eBird - 15-18 Feb 2013

By Will Morris February 12, 2013
Cedar Waxwing
Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing by Ben Thomas of Georgia. Ben's image was the photo contest winner for the 2012 GBBC.

Are you ready for the 2013 Great Backyard Bird Count (15-18 February 2013)? This promises to be the biggest year ever as we open the GBBC to the entire world and integrate it with eBird! This means that for the first time ever, the GBBC will take a snapshot of the global avifauna. This year all data entered into eBird go into GBBC and vice versa. From now on, GBBC data entry will use the eBird checklist interface, will take advantage of eBird output tools, and will be completely integrated with your personal eBird account. New visitors to eBird should be sure to check out the eBird Quick Start Guide. If you are already an avid eBirder, we ask one more thing of you for the GBBC. Please try to take out at least one or two people who don’t use eBird and introduce them to counting birds and eBird.

GBBC/eBird integration means that users can enter data from the GBBC website or from eBird. If you enjoy the GBBC, we encourage you to enter your sightings at the GBBC website and follow the count’s progress via the Explore Data links there. Check out your My eBird page after your first entry and to see your list under Manage My Observations. If you prefer to use eBird, that is great—your observations are now completely integrated in the GBBC. If you chose to use BirdLog (on sale now for 99 cents!), those data will go right into eBird and during the GBBC weekend, they will be counted for the GBBC. Regardless of where you enter your observations, be sure to visit the Explore pages of the GBBC site to see customized output for the GBBC starting on Friday, 15 February. Range maps, yard-patch totals, arrivals, departures and high counts tables, and Top100 have been customized for the GBBC and watching the totals grow through the weekend will be a great way to share in the success of this record-breaking year.

With an entire planet of eBirders joining this year’s effort, we expect the GBBC to have a record-breaking year, but we will need your observations. Last year’s effort (restricted to the USA and Canada) recorded the following:

  • 104,151 checklists
  • 17.4 million individual birds
  • 623 species

If you are already an eBirder, the 2013 GBBC is a chance to get your friends involved. Help them enter at least one or two checklists from their backyard or favorite nearby birding location (the “Great Backyard Bird Count” is by no means restricted to backyards). Give them a helping hand with the checklist entry if they need it, and once they figure it out, encourage them to continue with counts year-round on eBird. Help them find their sightings on eBird maps, bar charts, and arrivals/departures/high counts and find their name in the Top100.

If you are an eBirder that lives outside the USA or Canada, we especially hope to see checklists from you and your friends. If there is any weekend to get out birding this winter, this is it! Invite your birding friends along and show them how easy and addictive eBird is!

More than anything, the GBBC is an event to bring bird-lovers together from around the world to commit to a weekend of bird counting and appreciation of the birds that we love so much. Around the world, birds need our protection, and your observations represent contributions to a worldwide effort to better understand and protect the planet’s birds. See how your sightings are having impacts on science and conservation.

When you aren’t birding this weekend, be sure to watch the new eBird live submissions map to watch the record-breaking number of checklists flow in!