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The Great Backyard Bird Count

For our nature study this term, we’re focussing on birds.  This ties in well with the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, from Feb 17-20, 2012.



It’s a simple nature/science project that will open your eyes to the birds around you this winter and will also contribute to North American bird knowledge.  All you have to do is count birds in your area for 15 minutes and enter them in the Canadian or American bird count.  If you wish, you can count more often or longer.


by Russ Campbell


This year we were going to be reporting the Eastern Phoebe.  At least, we thought we had heard and seen it often in the last few weeks.  Apparently it is rare in our area in February according to the bird tally list, but we ‘heard’ ‘ours’ regularly and ‘heard’ one in a community 25 minutes away just two weeks ago.  It seems to be especially vocal early in the morning….


When we listened to a recording of its sweet song, it was just a wee bit off; then we read the warning not to mistake the Black-Capped Chickadee’s call for the Eastern Phoebe, and, sure enough, what we’ve been hearing was the Black-Capped Chickadee.  It makes sense, too, because the Eastern Phoebe eats flies, and there are none of those around here now.


That’s one of the perks of participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count:  you learn a lot more than you expect you will.


And so the children and I learn more about the birds in our area each year, and the knowledge seems to build upon itself.  It adds meaning to our time outside and helps us to notice more of the beautiful world God has given us.


If you know nothing about birds, don’t worry.  The Great Backyard Bird Count is an excellent way to learn about birds, with lots of kid-friendly information on the website.  It’s free, it’s fun, it’s educational, and it lets your family be part of a continent-wide project.


Photo Credit: The Eastern Phoebe is by Russ Campbell.


  1. […] Tea Time with Annie Kate describes learning through The Great Backyard Bird Count. […]

  2. Annie, this is something our family would do. I am glad you shared it and hope there are others that will add it to their walks and time outdoors. The birds love it here since we planted lots of berry producing viburnums… especially the mocking birds.

  3. […] went for several walks to count birds for the Great Backyard Bird Count, but on one of them we were chatting too much and all the birds were silent.  On another walk we […]

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