Whether your backyard’s a snow-covered city street or a grassy lawn in warm climes, get outside and start counting birds for National Audubon’s and Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s 13th annual Great Backyard Bird Count . It starts today and goes through Monday. Last year, GBBC participants tallied 11 million birds and 600 different species.
Participating is simple (click here  for the GBBC’s detailed instructions.) Over the next four days, spend as few as 15 minutes on one day—or as long as you want on each of the four days—recording the birds you see. Go to your local park. Head over to the waterfront. Or even watch the birds on your home feeder.
However you choose to participate, remember these tips:
- Focus on the greatest number of individuals of any species at one time
- Keep separate lists for every day you count
- Write down any species you see—from the blue jays and cardinals to the rarest of finds
Once you’re all counted out, submit your lists here  to be part of a citizen scientist project that can tell researchers such important info as the effect of this year’s temperatures on bird species and differences in migration patterns from last year to now, as well as provide an overall picture of winter birds.