In this issue: big numbers rolling in, more ways to count birds, and a very tricky quiz!

GBBC eNewsletter 

February 19, 2016

Allen's Hummingbird by Michael Pazzani, California, 2016 GBBC.

You Did It: Another Record-Breaking GBBC!

The 19th annual Great Backyard Bird Count is shattering the records set just last year. As of this morning (February 19) you've reported 5,296 species--passing last year's record by a massive 206 species and topping 50% of the world's birds for the first time! You've submitted 150,167 checklists from more than 130 countries, surpassing the 2015 checklist record of 147,265 lists. Countries, states, and provinces are blasting through their previous individual records with truly epic participation from across the globe.

Take a look at the latest reports from around the world.

Below are the top 10 countries for number of checklists submitted as of this morning. India tops the list for the most species reported from one country and probably can't be caught, but Mexico has had a spectacular showing for number of species as well. Panama, Serbia, and the United Kingdom have been swapping places over the past few days with the U.K. currently hanging on to that # 10 spot. Panama is close behind with 210 lists, followed by Serbia, with 206 checklists, representing a 76% jump from the number of checklists Serbians submitted last year!
Country Number of Species Number of Checklists
United States           657          123,004
Canada           244           12,741
India           728           6,483
Australia           528           1,688
Mexico           684           912
Costa Rica           602           351
Taiwan           254           323
Portugal           201           284
New Zealand           138           267
United Kingdom           159           219

As of Feb. 19, 8:30 a.m. EST

For some other highlights of the count so far, including rare species reported to the GBBC for the first time, read our recent halftime report. We'll post a final summary of the 2016 account in a few weeks on the GBBC website.

Remember, you can still enter your checklists for sightings made during the four days of the GBBC through the end of February on the GBBC website.
Meghna Joshi submitted this image of birders in New Delhi, India, calling it "The lifer moment!"

Cool Facts About GBBC 2016

  • During the 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. period on Sunday, February 14, 3,292 checklists were submitted. That's the highest number of lists submitted in one hour in the history of the GBBC.
  • More than 52,000 checklists were entered on Monday, February 15. That's the highest number of checklists ever submitted in a single day in the history of eBird and the GBBC.
  • As of this morning (February 19), 10 states had already surpassed their previous records for checklist submissions (Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia), with several others within a whisker of their past record (California, Colorado, Illinois, Wyoming, and North Dakota).
  • Despite a frigid GBBC for Canada, Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Quebec have already managed to crack their previous checklist records. Newfoundland/Labrador is very close!
Photo by Craig McIntyre, Texas, 2016 GBBC. Click for a larger view..

How Many Species Can You Find?

GBBC participant Craig McIntyre sent in the photo above from Rockport, Texas, with a bit of a challenge. How many species can you identify? Our experts came up with 20 species, though some are pretty difficult! Click on the photo above to see a much larger version, then check here to see numbered birds which we used to come up with an ID. Here's the answer key. If you get at least 10 right, you've done great!
Red-cheeked Cordonbleu by Veena Naik, Uganda, 2016 GBBC.

Do Some Exploring

Half the fun of the GBBC is seeing what others are reporting near you or from the other side of the world. Try heading over to the GBBC website and clicking on the "Explore Data" tab. There are a couple of data exploration tools on the next page:

Explore a Region: Use the links to explore the results from the entire world or hone in on a specific region. Or enter a country, state, or province in the search window. Don't forget to check under the "counties" tab when a state summary is shown so you can drill down further. Look for top-performing counties, hotspots, and birders in the right column.

Species Maps: The species maps show one species at a time. Put in a species you’re interested in. The GBBC dates are already chosen. Then choose a location to see where that species was reported. Click on the link "show pins sooner" on the right side of the page to see specific report locations. Click on a marker to see more of the checklist.

Online Photo Gallery: Take a look at a sampling of some of the great images that have come in for the count. Although we were not able to post them all in the gallery, every photo submitted to the contest will be considered by our panel of judges as they select the 2016 GBBC photo contest winners!


Thank you for making the GBBC something special!

The Next GBBC is

February 17-20, 2017

You can still submit your GBBC data at

Don't Stop Now: 
Keep On Counting!

Photo by Margaret Nicholas, Arkansas, 2016 GBBC.

If you enjoyed the GBBC and want to keep reporting your birds to benefit conservation and science year round, visit to enter your checklist at any time. The eBird website uses the same data entry system as the GBBC, so you’ll be all set to go using the same user name and password and entering data the same way. Try doing a count of at least 15 minutes in your backyard or at a local park once a week, or whenever you can. 

As spring approaches, you'll notice different species arriving and you'll be doing your part to track migration as it's happening. Most importantly, your efforts will benefit scientific analyses that use your data, such as this new 118 species animated migration map. At eBird, everyone is welcome and every observation matters!

Save the Date for Global Big Day!

If you like big bird-counting events like the GBBC, save the date for the second annual Global Big Day being held May 14, 2016. Join bird watchers from all around the world to find as many species as possible on that one day. You'll participate just as you did for the GBBC, spending at least 15 minutes counting birds and entering your checklists online through eBird.
Learn more about Global Big Day.

Anna's Hummingbird by Jim Lockyer, California, 2016 GBBC.

Observe Hummingbirds this Spring

If you have a soft spot for feisty hummingbirds, consider turning your counting skills to Audubon’s Hummingbirds at Home project.
Recent research shows that flowering times of some hummingbird-friendly nectar plants are changing. By taking part in Hummingbirds at Home, you can help researchers learn more about nectar sources, how changes in supply may be affecting hummingbirds, and what we can do to protect these small feathered jewels. All you need to do is submit your hummingbird feeding observations online or with the the free Hummingbirds at Home app for iOs or Android devices.

A Deal & A Gift

Get to know your backyard birds even better! Join Project FeederWatch in the U.S. and Canada by February 29 and receive the "Be a Better Birder 1: Size and Shape" online course from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology as a "thank you." This self-paced course helps you learn more about bird identification with expert tips and interactive quizzes. 
Because the FeederWatch season is well underway, when you sign up for the project before the end of the month you will also be able to participate next season (November 2016-April 2017) at no extra charge. Register below: 
United States  (Cornell Lab)
Canada (Bird Studies Canada)
Visit Wild Birds Unlimited, a sponsor of the Great Backyard Bird Count!

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a nonprofit membership institution interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab website at

The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at and @audubonsociety.

Bird Studies Canada is our country’s leading national charitable organization dedicated to bird research and conservation. Our mission is to conserve wild birds of Canada through sound science, on-the-ground actions, innovative partnerships, public engagement, and science-based advocacy.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Call toll-free (800) 843-2473

National Audubon Society   
225 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014
(202) 600-7962

Bird Studies Canada
Box 160
Port Rowan, ON N0E 1M0 Canada
Call: (888) 448-2473 or (519) 586-3531

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