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Great Backyard Bird Count 2014

Watching a Carolina Chickadee, Sandy Manter, TN, 2013 GBBC

What is the GBBC?

The 2014 GBBC will take place Friday, February 14, through Monday, February 17. Please join us for the 17th annual count!

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are.

GBBC checklists can be accepted from anywhere in the world!

Everyone is welcome–from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds.

Participants tally the number of individual birds of each species they see during their count period. They enter these numbers on the GBBC website.

New participants must set up a free GBBC account to submit their checklists or use login information from an existing account for any other Cornell Lab citizen-science project. You’ll only need to do this once to participate in all future GBBC events. Click “Submit Your Bird Checklist” at the top of this page or see How to Participate for more details.


Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Celebrate Urban Birds is having their annual Funky Nests in Funky Places Contest!

Have you noticed any bird nests in your neighborhood? Peek in a hanging flower basket, a street light, a store sign, your barbecue grill, an old boot, or under a bridge! Birds build nests in the strangest places!

Be creative! Take a photo, create some artwork, shoot video, write a story or a poem, or create a sculpture. Just show a bird’s nest built in some out-of-the-way or out-of-this-world place.

Contest details at

YouTube video here

Together, we can help hummingbirds. Watch this video

Be a part of Audubon’s first all-digital, mobile citizen science network. The Hummingbirds at Home website and smart phone app make it easy and fun to keep track o fthe hummingbirds you see while collecting valuable data that helps us understand how to protect them.

To live such high energy lifestyles hummingbirds must sync their migration and nesting times with the flowering of nectar-bearing plants. Climate change threatens to throw off this delicate balance, with unknown repercussions for hummingbirds. We know that scientific research will be essential for helping us understand how climate change is affecting hummingbirds and for learning what we can do about it. But it’s not that simple. Collecting the necessary scientific data across large areas is difficult and costly.

With your help we can begin the research necessary to answer important questions related to hummingbirds and climate change.

Join today at

See Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s newest live bird cam at The Peregrine Fund in Boise, Idaho of the American Kestrel. It features two views: one inside the nest box and another from the outside so you can see adults arrive and admire the western skyline. The eggs have hatched and there are five tiny baby birds!

The Great Blue Heron eggs and the Red-tailed Hawk eggs have hatched. At last count there were five tiny heron chicks and three tiny hawk chicks!

View live streaming video of Great Blue Heron nest

View live streaming video of Red-tailed Hawk nest

Photo courtesy of Cornell lab of Ornithology

Great Blue Herons have claimed the nest in a huge dead tree in Sapsucker Woods Pond, Ithaca, New York

This Great Blue Heron nest is in a large, dead white oak in the middle of Sapsucker Woods pond, right outside the Cornell Lab’s Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity, newest live-streaming nest camera. We’d like to invite you to watch along with us as these magnificent birds begin their nesting activities for the year. Adult herons can be up to 4.5 feet tall, with a wingspan up to 6 feet. Despite their large size, they typically only weigh around 5 pounds.

Herons usually lay 2-4 eggs and share incubation duties for 25-30 days. Incubation begins with the first egg, and the young hatch asynchronously (not at the same time) over 2-5 days. After hatching, it’ll take 7-8 weeks before they fly from the nest for the first time.

The Great Blue Herons have nested in this snag for the last four years. We can see the nest from our staff lounge, and in years past we’ve enjoyed guessing when the eggs would hatch, watching for the day the chicks’ little beaks first appear over the nest rim, and following them as they grow to four-foot tall adolescents. This year you’ll be able to watch their progress from virtually inside the nest.

The herons returned to the nest in mid-March and soon began courting: bringing twigs, standing side by side in the nest, clattering their bills, and nipping at each other. To get good views of these large birds, we’ve installed two cameras that stream simultaneously, one from above the nest and the other at nest level. The lower camera can record even in dark conditions and streams all night long.

March 28 at around 7:30 p.m., the heron laid her first egg! Tune in to keep watching for the next eggs. Great Blue Herons typically lay eggs every two days, sometimes three, until the clutch is complete. After that it will be 25–30 days before the chicks hatch, and they will spend another 7–8 weeks in the nest before they fledge. We hope you’ll join us as we watch this all unfold!

The site will be live 24 hours a day and the upper camera’s video can be streamed in HD. You can also watch on mobile devices such as smartphones and iPads. A full-featured BirdCams site will launch in late April with more birds.

We’ve enjoyed having these herons outside our windows in years past, and we hope you enjoy them too!

Live streaming video of a Great Blue Heron nest.

Photo from All About Birds

A new nest camera high above a Cornell University athletic field is streaming crystal-clear views of a Red-tailed Hawk nest via the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds website. The new camera stream puts viewers 80 feet off the ground and right beside the nest, where they can watch the hawks arrive, see them taking turns incubating the eggs, and compare notes on the two birds—the male has a more golden-tawny face and is slightly smaller than the female, who has been nicknamed “Big Red” for her alma mater.

The nest should be active for at least the next two months, and we hope you’ll join us as we watch the young birds hatch and grow. The parents have raised young here for at least the last four years. As signs of spring began to show, the pair began adding sticks and green pine boughs to the nest, and the male started bringing prey, such as squirrels and pigeons, to offer the female. The pair now has two eggs, laid last Friday and on Monday, and we’re waiting to see if they lay a third. The birds will incubate for 28-35 days from the date the first egg is laid.

To make sure no one misses out on the early stages of this Red-tailed Hawk story, we’ve put together a temporary page on our All About Birds website where we invite you to watch these magnificent birds. The site will be live 24 hours a day and the video can be streamed in HD. You can also watch on mobile devices such as smartphones and iPads. A full-featured BirdCams site will launch in late April with many more species, including  Osprey, Black Vulture, and Great Horned Owl.

Enjoy the view!

From Cornell Lab of Ornithology Newsletter

The Bryan’s Shearwater, a bird thought to be extinct has been found living on Pacific Islands. Several of these birds have been found alive on the remote Ogasawara Islands near Japan.

The Bryan’s Shearwater is a pelagic (ocean dwelling) bird, meaning that it lives primarily around deep water and is rarely found on land or near coastlines. Most shearwaters only come ashore to breed.

First identified as a unique species in 2011, researchers are excited to have found a living population. The species is named to honor Edwin Horace Bryan Jr. who was the curator of the B. P. Bishop Museum at Honolulu from 1919 to 1968.

DNA analysis conducted in 2011 on the bird specimen collected in 1963 on Midway Atoll, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands confirmed that it was actually a separate species, the first to be found in over 35 years.

Bryan’s Shearwater is the smallest of the shearwaters (there are about 22 recognized species) and very little is known about its breeding habits and range Based on the habits of other shearwater species, experts speculate that Bryan’s could range throughout the Pacific Ocean basin and most likely uses nesting burrows on remote islands. Many shearwaters are nocturnal visitors to their burrows, making them even more difficult to observe.

Seabirds can be found hundreds or thousands of miles from the nearest land, and many seabird species may spend years at sea without ever returning to land. When they do visit islands or coastlines, it is often just to breed and raise their young, a process which may take a few weeks or several months. Outside of breeding, seabirds spend most of their lives above, on or in the sea.

Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution

Excerpted from a post Monday, February 27, 2012 by eNature

I counted the birds in my yard today for the Great Backyard Bird Count. The temperature was 48 degrees F at 9:45 am when I started observing and counting.

Today I saw an Allen’s Hummingbird. This species of hummingbird is found along the California coast during its breeding sesason and during the summer. While I see Anna’s Hummingbirds nearly everyday, seeing an Allen’s Humming bird is a rare occurance. I was excited to see another species during my count.

Record ID: S9945945
Observation Date : FEB 20, 2012
Start Time: 9:45 AM
Total Birding Time: 30 minutes
Party Size: 1
Skill: excellent
Weather: excellent
Snow Depth: No snow was present

Nearby Habitat(s):
deciduous woods
coniferous woods

Number of Species: 16
All Reported: yes

Turkey Vulture – 1
Mourning Dove – 4
Anna’s Hummingbird – 1
Allen’s Hummingbird – 1
Steller’s Jay – 1
Western Scrub-Jay – 2
Chestnut-backed Chickadee – 1
Oak Titmouse – 1
White-breasted Nuthatch – 1
California Towhee – 2
White-crowned Sparrow – 1
Golden-crowned Sparrow – 5
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) – 4
House Finch – 6
Lesser Goldfinch – 2
American Goldfinch – 1

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