National Geographic : 2013 Dec
NEXT REPORTED IN EVERY U.S. STATE Mallard, Canada goose, and rock pigeon Soaring Numbers “Most people know more birds than they give themselves credit for,” says the Great Backyard Bird Count’s Pat Leonard. Since 1998 the count has been asking bird-watchers to record which ones they see over four days every February, just before birds begin migrating north again. The value comes over the long term—marking a drop in the population of American crows from year to year, for example. Having citizens, not scientists, contributing data has a big upside: They can cover a massive area. It also comes with reliability chal- lenges. Organizers—which include Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society, and Bird Studies Canada—flag and review reports that contain birds not known to be in the area or an unusually large number of species. Adds Leonard, “We also tell people, ‘If you just can’t ID a bird for sure, don’t report it.’ ” —Johnna Rizzo MOST STRIKING CHANGE 2012-13 Red crossbill, white-winged crossbill, common redpoll, and hoary redpoll U.S. sightings of these four species of winter finch doubled or tripled since the previous count. MOST WIDESPREAD House sparrow 43 countries LISTS SUBMITTED 134,935 INDIVIDUAL BIRDS REPORTED 34,512,432 TOTAL SPECIES IN 2013 3,610 GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT PARTICIPANTS Formerly including only the U.S. and Canada, the GBBC tapped the Internet and let participants register online in 2013. People in 110 countries sent in lists of birds they’d observed. North America still had three of the four countries with the most submissions—including the top submitter, the U.S., with 120,500. Checklists submitted by country/territory No participation 101- 500 1-100 12,000+ To register, go to birdsource.org.