The Great Backyard Bird Count eNews

GBBC eNewsletter

November 2015

Pass the word: the GBBC is coming! Northern Cardinals by Ella Clem, Kentucky, 2015 GBBC.

GBBC is Coming! Are You In?

Greetings from the Great Backyard Bird Count team at Audubon, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and Bird Studies Canada! We want to remind you to mark your calendars for the 19th GBBC, coming up February 12 through 15, 2016. Because the GBBC is integrated with the eBird program you can start practicing now.

ID Quiz: Crow or Raven?

Photo by Jack Wolf via Birdshare.

Photo by Keith Williams via Birdshare.

These two big black birds are found all across North America: the Common Raven and the American Crow. Can you tell which is which in the photos above? Click on each image to see if you got it right and read more information about these two species. Here are additional resources to help you learn to tell the difference by sight and by sound:

Similar Species: Crows and Ravens

How to Tell a Raven From a Crow

Caw vs. Croak: Inside the Calls of  Crows and Ravens


Free ID Tools To Try

  • Audubon Bird Guide App: Available for smartphones and tablets through the Apple App StoreGoogle Play, and Amazon App Store. Features 821 North American species with sounds, images, and range maps.
  • eBird Mobile App: Enter your GBBC checklists directly into eBird on iOS devices. (Android coming soon!) Works anywhere on earth; multiple languages.
  • Merlin® Bird ID App: Now available for both iOS and Android operating systems. Helps new or intermediate birders identify 400 North American species. Includes photos and sounds.
  • Merlin Bird Photo ID: Got a mystery bird? Upload your photo to this web-based program and let it identify the bird for you. Try it!

Photo by Camilla Cerea, National Audubon Society.

On Deck: Christmas Bird Count

Will Snowy Owls be visiting your area this year? Help find out by participating in the 116th Christmas Bird Count from December 14, 2015, through January 5, 2016. Consider joining the tens of thousands of dedicated volunteers who take part in their local counts and make a vital contribution to science and bird conservation. Read about the results the 115th CBC and be sure to check the next GBBC newsletter for your chance to sign up for a count near you.

Pygmy Nuthatch by Kurt Countryman, Wyoming, 2015 GBBC.

Count Your Feeder Birds Now

If you just can’t wait until February to count birds for the GBBC, there’s a way to scratch that itch right now. Project FeederWatch will keep you focused on feeders throughout the winter across the U.S.and Canada. The 29th season of FeederWatch has just begun along with their BirdSpotter photo contest, sponsored by Droll Yankees (also a sponsor of the GBBC). Find out more and sign up below:


A warm welcome toArmstrong Bird Food, a new supporter of the GBBC in Canada. Thank you! 

The next GBBC is
February 12-15, 2016

Snowy Owl by Mike Anderson, Ontario, 2015 GBBC.

Another Snowy Winter?

There are signs that the number of Snowy Owls may be higher than usual in the coming months. The last really big irruption of these flashy white birds was during the winter of 2013-14. A look at the number of owls reported to eBird from September through October 2015 shows even greater numbers than what was reported during the same period in 2013. Read more.

Common Redpoll by John DeValve, New York, 2015 GBBC.

Finch Forecast

Ron Pittaway’s annual Winter Finch Forecast is out for the winter of 2015-16. Ron is with the Ontario Field Ornithologists and has been issuing his forecasts for North America for more than 15 years. Find out what you might see this winter, particularly in Ontario and across Canada. Read more.

Download the GBBC Slideshow

We’ve just finished updating the PowerPoint presentation for the 2016 GBBC. We know there are many of you planning to give a presentation in your community to get more people involved. Download the presentation and the accompanying script. We’ve left a blank slide at the end if you want to promote a local GBBC event. Thanks for helping spread the word!

This Tricolored Heron is ready for its closeup. Photo by Chris Mullon, Florida, 2015 GBBC.

Photo Contest Winners Coming Soon

We’ve sorted through the thousands of photos you submitted for the 2015 count and the judges are nearly through with the difficult task of choosing the best out of so many stunning images. The results will be announced in our January newsletter! Revisit the 2015 online photo gallery.

A Very Birdy Holiday

The Cornell Lab, Audubon, and Bird Studies Canada offer many options for the bird watcher on your list and many of them do double-duty because they also help support education and conservation programs at our organizations. Have a look at what’s new this year!

Cornell Lab of Ornithology
A new centennial book, 2016 calendar, and online courses.

Audubon Marketplace
Beautiful holiday cards, feeders, and other items.

Bird-friendly Coffee: The Messenger Blend
Bird Studies Canada receives 10% of sales!

Visit Wild Birds Unlimited, a sponsor of the Great Backyard Bird Count!
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