The Great Backyard Bird Count is a Pandemic-Friendly Family Activity

Count birds in your backyard to help scientists.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is here, and it’s happening February 12-15, 2021. If you are looking for a free, fun and easy activity that families can do together during the pandemic, this is it. Each year, The Great Backyard Bird Count takes place for four days each February. This world-wide event is a time for bird enthusiasts around the world to come together for the love of birds. During the four days, people are invited to spend time in their favorite places watching and counting as many birds as they can find, and reporting them to The Great Backyard Bird Count. These observations help scientists better understand global bird populations before one of their annual migrations.

Whether your family includes expert birders, or you just love watching the birds that pop up around your bird feeder or in your yard, everyone can join in The Great Backyard Bird Count. This is a great activity that will make you more aware of the wildlife in your area — and you’ll be helping out scientists at the same time!

When: February 12-15, 2021

Who: Anyone can participate! This is a great way for families to get outside and involve even the youngest kids in this simple activity. Participating is easy, fun to do alone or with others.

Where: The Great Backyard Bird Count can be done anywhere you find birds, from parks to your own backyard. For the 2021 Great Backyard Bird Count, everyone should comply with all current country, province, state, First People’s lands, or municipal Covid-19 regulations and guidelines. This includes social distancing while bird watching and wearing a mask when birding with others.

Why: The event was launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society. The Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project — also referred to as community science — to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real time. 

How: Visit to learn about the easy ways you can count birds and report them to The Great Backyard Bird Count.

Nicole Sipe
Nicole Sipe
Nicole Sipe is the editor of Indy's Child and Southwest Ohio Parent magazines. She has a BA in Journalism from California State University Northridge, and has been involved in the print and digital publishing world for most of her life. Born and raised in Southern California, Nicole traded the city and sun for corn and creeks, and now lives in central Indiana with her husband, two sons and Collie. Her latest book for children, “All About Me! Art Journal” was published in 2022 by Walter Foster Jr. In her spare time, she likes traveling with her family, enjoying good food and drink, volunteering at her children’s schools and around her community, and practicing yoga.

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