Their email offered a few suggestions for optimizing the count experience.
- You can go to the website and access a printable tally sheet which will show you which birds would be expected to be seen in your zip code.
- This might be self-evident, but if you are planning to count birds at your feeders, be sure to fill the feeders in advance.
- Make sure your camera batteries are fully charged and ready. You can submit your pictures to the website and enter their photography contest.
- Invite friends and family to count birds in their yards or in some public space. The more data, the better.
It will be very interesting to see what this winter's count shows. It has, after all, been a relatively mild winter throughout the country and one might expect that spring migrants will be reported farther north than usual this year.
- American Robins are usually the most frequently reported birds by observers. There have been literally hundreds of them in my yard recently. But will they be reported much farther north than they normally are at this time of year?
- What about other migratory birds like Eastern Phoebes and geese? What will be the farthest north that they will be seen this year?
- Cornell says that eBird reports recently have shown fewer Blue Jays in the Northeast than usual. Will the GBBC observers confirm this?
- Where will the Snowy Owls show up on the count?
- And what about hummingbirds? This has been such an unusual season for overwintering hummingbirds. I have two in my own backyard. It will be very interesting to see what other observers in my area - and indeed throughout the country - report.
This year's count will have a lot to tell us. I can hardly wait!