National Wildlife Refuge System
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students birdwatching
In North Dakota, two Kensal Public School students brave sub-zero temperatures to peer through birding scopes during the 2009 Christmas Bird Count. For the past eight years, Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge has partnered with the school to help conduct the bird survey in that area. Another bird census, the Backyard Bird Count, takes place in February
Credit: USFWS
boy watches birds through scope
A youngster enjoys a close-up look through a scope at birds.
Credit: USFWS

Great Backyard Bird Count Just Around the Corner!

From February 12-15, join bird watchers from coast to coast for the 13th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). The event engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real–time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent and in Hawaii. Anyone can participate, from beginner bird watchers to experts. Participation is free and no registration is required.

Participants count birds anywhere for as little or as long as they wish during the four–day period. They tally the highest number of birds of each species seen together at any one time and can easily report what they see online at and get an instantaneous snapshot of their record, as well as submit photographs of the recorded birds.

You can report the five species in your backyard feeder or the 75 species you see during a day’s outing to a National Wildlife Refuge. Be a "citizen scientist" and get involved in the count.

Contact your local refuge; many participate in the GBBC each year, including Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge in Idaho, Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma and Togiak National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

A complete list of National Wildlife Refuge activities and special events is available at:


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