Time to get talking about the next Great Backyard Bird Count!
January 28, 2013

Dear GBBC Ambassador,

Golden-crowned Kinglet, Nick Saunders, Saskatchewan, 2012 GBBC
It's an interesting time to be a bird watcher! Last winter, the influx of gorgeous Snowy Owls captured our attention. This year, there's a massive irruption of northern finches--setting new records in some parts of the continent. Perhaps the biggest influx, we hope, will be the arrival of many more new GBBC participants as the project goes global for the first time in 2013!

The 16th annual count takes place February 15-18.

As you may have read on the website, the GBBC is being integrated with the eBird online checklist program. This will give the GBBC its global reach. It will also make count data much more useful because participants will be able to pinpoint precisely where they made their bird observations, rather than using a zip code, as we've done until now. Participants will also have to create a GBBC online account. They (and you) will be able to do that when the count begins on February 15. It will take just a few moments. However, if you're already using eBird or participate in Project FeederWatch, NestWatch, or Celebrate Urban Birds, you can simply use that sign-on information--no need to create a new account.

If you want to get familiar with the data-entry process, feel free to create an account directly in eBird--but be sure to remember your username and password  so you can use them again for the GBBC, for all future counts, or to report birds anytime! Check out this free webinar being offered tomorrow, January 29.

People are sure to have questions about the changes and why we're making them. As a GBBC ambassador, you'll be on the front lines when those questions are asked and we're hoping the materials we've made available to you on the website will help you pass along the answers. Here's what you'll find as you ramp up the effort to let friends, family, neighbors, and local media outlets know about the GBBC:
Townsend's Warbler, Craig Kerns, Washington, 2012 GBBC
 It would be a good idea to read through the revised FAQ section to get up to speed on the answers to questions you may be asked. Other resources to look over: We hope all these resources will give you the tools you need to encourage others to join in this great event--especially those who have never done so before! If you have specific events or presentations you’re planning for the GBBC this year, by all means let us know so they can be posted on the Local Events page.

And don't forget all those exciting social media channels!

Facebook: The GBBC Facebook page now has more than 7,900 members. If you have a personal or business Facebook page, consider promoting the count there. Encourage your friends to participate, post about birds you see, and promote the GBBC.

Twitter: If you're a tweet freak, tweet about the birds! When you use the tag #gbbc, those tweets appear right  on the GBBC homepage.

Rufous-sided Towhee, Judy Lyle, Florida, 2012 GBBC
Pull out all the stops. Post your favorite bird photo on Pinterest along with the dates for the GBBC. Make your pitch for participation on camera and upload to  your YouTube channel. Who knows? Maybe you'll be the next viral wonder!

The GBBC would not be as popular as it is today without your efforts, and for that we thank you many times over. Each year we break participation records. Let's do it again! Thank you for helping us reach out to the world about the importance of keeping track of our birds in order to better protect them.

The GBBC Team at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, and Bird Studies Canada


Many thanks to longtime GBBC sponsor
                Wild Birds Unlimited

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

Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Our national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in conservation.

Bird Studies Canada administers regional, national, and international research and monitoring programs that advance the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of wild birds and their habitats. We are Canada's national body for bird conservation and science, and we are a non-governmental charitable organization.

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Cornell Lab of Ornithology
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National Audubon Society   
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Bird Studies Canada
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Call: (888) 448-2473 or (519) 586-3531