Crowdsourcing Science in Just 15 Minutes

How has the most powerful El Niño in nearly two decades and the extraordinary weather patterns it spawned this winter affected birds?

You can join with tens of thousands of volunteer citizen scientists to help find the answer by spending just 15 minutes in your backyard or neighborhood this weekend during the annual Great Backyard Bird Count.

It’s science crowdsourcing at its best: Grab a pair of binoculars or just head outside and invite your family and friends to help count all the birds you spot within a 15-minute period. No previous experience necessary.

Last year, more than 140,000 citizen participants submitted their bird observations online to, creating the largest instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations ever recorded.

This year’s citizen count is going to be more important to science and conservation efforts than ever. We learned during our earlier citizen science event, the annual Christmas Bird Count, that this year’s record warm winter kept Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes lingering longer in the north. And other birds were showing up far from their usual homes and rest stops.

The Great Backyard Bird Count, held February 12 to 15 at the start of the spring migration season, will help scientists understand even more about the impact a record warm winter and unusually fierce storms are having on where birds are living and migrating.

Audubon – which helped originate science crowdsourcing with its annual Christmas Bird Count 116 years ago–is engaging citizen scientists to change science and conservation as we know it.
The Great Backyard Bird Count, an annual census nearly two decades old, is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society along with Canadian partner Bird Studies —> Read More