Great Backyard Bird Count

Beginning on the Friday of the week of Saint Valentine’s Day or the weekend of that week, there is a holiday that encourages people to go outdoors and count birds. This event is known as the Great Backyard Bird Count, and it is celebrated over a four-day period. During this event, bird watchers from all walks of life go out to count birds and create a real-life snapshot of bird populations around the world.

There are over 10,000 bird species in the world, and 1,000 of them are in the U.S. alone. With so many birds, it can be hard for scientists to keep track of their numbers, and this event week is the perfect opportunity for bird watchers to pitch in and give them a hand.

The History of the Great Backyard Bird Count

This holiday began as one of the first online citizen-science projects in 1998. It was started by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society so that they could collect important and relevant data on wild bird populations to analyze the results in real-time. Over the past few decades, the popularity of this holiday has grown as more people around the world show an interest in this bird-counting event.

How to Observe the Great Backyard Bird Count

Participating in this event is pretty easy, and we’ll outline the steps right here. First of all, you’re going to want to decide where to watch birds. This can be at home, in a garden, or at a local park; it’s your choice. Then watch birds for at least 15 minutes per day over the four-day period.

Count all of the birds that you see or hear manually, or if you’re new to the process, then use the Merlin Bird ID App to identify and count birds. After the four days, enter all of your bird observations on the eBird Mobile App, or on the website ( Congratulations! You have enjoyed a pleasant four days counting birds and have helped science as well.

When is it?
This year (2024)
February 16 Friday
Next year (2025)
February 14 Friday
Last year (2023)
February 17 Friday
Activity & Action, Animals