Great Backyard Bird Count Begins Friday

Downy Woodpecker. Photo by Courtney Celley/ USFWS.

Fill up your bird feeders and dust off your binoculars! The 2018 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) begins Friday, February 16-19. Participate from your backyard, take a stroll through your neighborhood, or visit your local Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail site. Join bird enthusiasts around the globe in counting birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, then enter your checklist of birds at Find full instructions and bird identification tips at

American Goldfinch. Photo by Eric Begin.

This year’s GBBC is particularly special as 2018 is the Year of the Bird, a celebration of birds and a call-to-action for people to help birds in simple yet meaningful ways. Participating in this count is one simple thing you can do this month to help birds. Your checklist will provide data on bird populations, which scientists use to track changes that have occurred since the GBBC first began over twenty years ago.

Add to the fun of your count by bird watching with a friend or your family. You may even want to check your local bird club to see if they are having a GBBC outing. Find your local club at: or

If you enjoy counting birds during the Great Backyard Bird Count and don’t want the fun to end, consider participating in the Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas (VABBA2). A project of DGIF and Virginia Society of Ornithology, VABBA2 is a citizen-science project supporting bird conservation in Virginia. Data collected from this project will help map the distribution and status of Virginia’s breeding birds. Find everything you need to get started at

  • February 15, 2018