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Cornell Lab director talks GBBC on Bird Calls Radio [listen now!]

By Hugh Powell
John W. Fitzpatrick with a Florida Scrub-Jay. Photo by Molly Fitzpatrick.

Update: You can now listen to the archive of this broadcast at Bird Calls Radio

It’s a week before the start of the 15th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, or GBBC for short. If you’re new to the count, or just want to hear more about how and why it’s done, tune in to Bird Calls Radio this Sunday afternoon at 1:00 EST. Our director, John Fitzpatrick, will spend the hour talking with host Chris Bosak. The program streams over the Internet, so you can hear it anywhere (and we’ll post a link to the archived episode once it’s available, in case you miss it on Sunday).

Chris is going to ask Fitz about the history of the GBBC, the rationale for holding it in the middle of winter, and what kinds of trends have been discovered as a result of so many people’s participation over the years, among other topics. This year we’re hoping to exceed 100,000 checklists for the four-day count period for the first time. Participation is free, and you can submit your counts online, from backyards or anywhere else you happen to be. (Last year, I made a count from Antarctica, although I couldn’t find “Emperor Penguin” on the reporting checklist). A near real-time map of the continent shows your checklists as they come in to our database.

More aspects of the GBBC that Fitz is sure to cover:

  • anyone, with any level of experience, can contribute
  • it takes as little as 15 minutes of counting per day
  • it’s a great thing to do with kids and friends
  • the data help us track the spread of species like Eurasian Collared-Doves and irruptions of birds like Snowy Owls and Common Redpolls

So listen to Bird Calls Radio at 1:00 EST this Sunday, and be sure to send us your sightings next weekend!

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American Kestrel by Blair Dudeck / Macaulay Library