American Robins and House Finch at bird bath. Photo: Sujata Roy

Bird-Friendly Communities

You're Invited: North Carolina's 21st Great Backyard Bird Count

Help gather important information on North Carolina’s bird populations in just 15 minutes!

The 21st annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) takes place February 16-19, and you’re invited to become a community scientist for the weekend.

Participation in the Great Backyard Bird Count is free and easy, no matter your age or experience level! By standing outside in your backyard, local park, school grounds, balconies or beaches, counting birds for 15 minutes, and reporting your findings, you can help scientists better understand how birds are affected by our changing climate.

Click through to Audubon North Carolina’s Facebook page to watch our GBBC launch at the Executive Mansion in Raleigh, meet local bird experts, and see Exploris student-scientists in action. (You do not need a Facebook account to watch!) 

Not sure you’ll be able to tell the difference between a Carolina Chickadee and a Brownheaded Nuthatch? Join a local North Carolina Audubon chapter’s bird walk for a stress-free way to get outside and get involved!

Chapters hosting special events include:

When: Friday, February 16
Where: Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary
How: See details on Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society's calendar

When: Saturday, February 17 - 9am
Where: The Park at Flat Rock
How: Meet Elisha Mitchell members at 55 Highland Golf Drive, Flat Rock, NC 28731 at 9am


When: Saturday, February 17
Where: McDowell Prairie/Copperhead Island
How: Meet at 8:30AM for this 1/2 day, moderate hike. We will be looking for winter migrants including waterfowl at Copperhead Island!  Brief directions: Turn right on Shopton Road off Hwy 49. In 0.7 miles, turn left on Four Horse Road. Follow it about 3/4 mile to the green gate on the right. Contact: Ron Clark []

When: Sunday, February 18
Where: Six-Mile Creek Greenway
How: See details on Mecklenburg Audubon Society's calendar

When: Friday, February 16 - Monday, February 19
Where: Wing Haven Garden & Bird Sanctuary led by Mecklenburg Audubon volunteers
How: Register via Wing Haven's website for free!

When: Saturday, February 17 at 8AM
Where: Meet at Oak Creek Village Shopping Center / Walk around Lake Betz
How: Meet at 8:00AM across the entryway road, behind Bojangles at Oak Creek Village Shopping Center (4600 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd) in Durham for a 2-3 hour bird walk at nearby Lake Betz. New birders and birders of all skill levels are welcome. Please wear long pants and sturdy shoes. Bring snacks and water if you like. Heavy rain will result in cancellation. For questions, contact Jim Capel at

To join in on the fun in your own backyard:

1.      Create a free GBBC account (or use your existing eBird username and password).

2.      Count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the Great Backyard Bird Count. At each location, identify any species you see or hear, and tally up the number of individuals. While you’re welcome to stick to your window or yard, you can count anywhere: your neighborhood, a local park, or a birding hotspot farther away! 

3.      Create a separate checklist for each new day, each new location, or for the same location if you counted at a different time of day. Estimate the number of individuals of each species you saw during your count period.

4.      Enter your results on the GBBC website by clicking the “Submit Observations” tab on the home page. You can also download the free eBird Mobile app to enter data on a mobile device. If you already use eBird, you can submit your sightings on their site and your checklists will count toward the GBBC.

GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada and is made possible in part by sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.  

To learn more about how to join the count, to download instructions, obtain a slide show, create web buttons and gather other materials, visit

How you can help, right now