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The Great Backyard Bird Count PowerPoint PPT Presentation

The Great Backyard Bird Count T. Gilbert Pearson (Guilford County) Chapter of National Audubon Society and other Audubon chapters will be participating in the 13th annual GBBC on Feb. 12-15, 2010. All North Carolina photographs used in the this presentation are by Dennis Burnette, TGP Audubon.

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The Great Backyard Bird Count

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The Great Backyard Bird Count

T. Gilbert Pearson (Guilford County) Chapter of National Audubon Society and other Audubon chapters will be participating in the 13th annual GBBC on Feb. 12-15, 2010.

All North Carolina photographs used in the this presentation are by Dennis Burnette, TGP Audubon.

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What is the Great Backyard Bird Count?

  • A free, fun event that helps birds.

  • A count in which anyone can participate

  • A count that lets you list birds, enter tallies online, and see results in real time!

Northern Cardinal, Guilford County, NC

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Why does the GBBC need your help?

  • Scientists can’t count birds everywhere at once.

  • More participation means a better long-term record of where the birds are.

  • Helps ensure that birds in the Triad are well represented.

House Finch, Greensboro, NC

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During last year’s GBBC, participants:

  • Counted more than 11.5 million birds, over 925,000 in NC

  • Reported 619 species; NC was 9th with 193 (Texas was 1st with 341)

  • Submitted more than 93,3600 checklists; NC was 3rd with 4,760 (Penn. was 1st with 5,519)

  • Localities Submitting the Most Checklists in U.S.:

    8th Winston-Salem – 272

    9th Durham – 270

    19th Wilmington – 250

    (#1 was Mentor, Ohio with 762 checklists)

Great Blue Herons breed on Lake Brandt and elsewhere in Guilford County.

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Who can participate?

  • Anyone in the United States and Canada.

  • Everyone is welcome, including beginners.

Great for children, youth, and adults of all ages.

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How do you participate?

1. Count birds anywhere for at least 15 minutes.

2. Tally the highest number of individuals of each species seen together at one time

3. Enter your counts at

High Point City Lake Marina

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Count Birds Anywhere

It’s called a “backyard” bird count, but we have a big “backyard.” The bird below was in a park in Greensboro.

  • In addition to our yard birds, we can count in parks or any place else that attracts birds.

  • We even can do more than one count in different sites, but should enter separate lists for each site.

Gray Catbird on the boardwalk at the Bog Garden in Greensboro.

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Keep a Tally

  • Keep a tally of the highest number of individuals of each species that you see together at any one time.

  • Do NOT add the numbers together or you might be counting the same bird over and over.

Great Egret and Canada Geese on Lake Townsend, Greensboro.

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Enter Your Count Tallies

  • Fill out your tallies online at:

Northern Mockingbird at Price Park, Greensboro

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What do scientists learn from the GBBC?

  • Year-to-year changes in the abundance and distribution of birds.

  • Patterns of migration.

  • Trends that can be used to study how birds are affected by factors such as urbanization, global climate change, and disease.

Yellow-bellied sapsucker, a northern woodpecker, migrates into the Triad every winter, then returns north in spring to breed.

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Abundance and Distribution of Birds

Eurasian Collared-Doves

  • First appeared in North America in Florida during the 1980s.

  • Reported in 39 states and province in 2009 GBBC.

This species now breeds on the NC coast and has been seen in the Triad.

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Abundance and Distribution of Birds

Snow Goose

  • The Snow Goose was reported in the highest numbers in 2009: more than 1.3 million.

Snow Geese are abundant on the NC coast and occasionally visit the Piedmont.

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Patterns of Migration

Sandhill Crane

  • The GBBC captures the movements of Sandhill Cranes as they begin their northward migration.

  • Sandhills have migrated through the Guilford County on several recent occasions.

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Patterns of Migration

Pine Siskin

Pine Siskins showed up in backyards and at feeders all over the Piedmont in 2009.


  • The GBBC records movements of irruptive species – birds that inundate areas in some years but not others.

  • 2009 was a major irruption year in North America.


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Impact of Disease

American Crow

  • The American Crow was among the top 5 most frequently reported birds before the arrival of West Nile virus

  • Since 2003, its ranking has dropped to 9th or 10th.

American Crow at Price Park, Greensboro.

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What can you learn from the GBBC?

  • We can explore results for any species from the Triad or any other town, state, or province where people are conducting the GBBC.

  • We also can track changes through time.

Carolina Wren near Pleasant Garden, Guilford County.

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Explore the Results

  • Top 10 lists

  • Lists by species, town, state, or province.

  • Maps

  • Photos

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How to get started?

Visit the GBBC

web site:

  • Easy instructions

  • Information about birds and bird ID

  • Photo gallery

Snow Geese in flight over the North Carolina Outer Banks.

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Want to do and learn more?

  • Download a brochure with recipes for making feeders and treats for the birds:

  • Make your yard into a bird paradise! Visit for ideas.

  • Participate in local outings:

Tufted Titmouse on a homemade suet ball, Greensboro.

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House Finch

U.S. and Canada

American Goldfinch

Dark-eyed Junco

Northern Cardinal

Mourning Dove

Tufted Titmouse

Blue Jay

Downy Woodpecker

Black-capped Chickadee

American Crow

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Questions about GBBC? Contact:

Cornell Lab:

[email protected]


National Audubon:

[email protected]

Bald Eagle, High Point City Lake

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Robin’s nest, Jamestown, Guilford Co.

Thank you!

Good luck during the Great Backyard Bird Count,

February 12-15, 2010

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Would you like to go over some birds you might see in a Triad backyard or park?

The bird list for the Triad is a bit different from the top 10 species on the combined list from all of North America.

Northern Cardinal, Greensboro

All photographs were shot in North Carolina by Dennis Burnette, TGP Audubon.

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Carolina Wren

  • Carolina Wren is loud, perky, curious, and a frequent visitor in our Triad backyards.

  • It’s unmistakable with its white eyebrow and jaunty cocked-up tail.

This is a southeastern species that’s very common in our area.

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Mourning Dove

  • Mourning Doves are one of the most abundant and widespread species in North America and in the Triad.

  • Often large flocks of doves forage in our parks and backyards, and they come easily to seed feeders and bird baths.

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  • House Finch and American Goldfinch are sparrow-sized birds that love thistle and sunflower seeds.

  • Both species sometimes form large flocks.

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The Dark-eyed Junco (below), called “snow bird” by old-timers, is a close relative of sparrows that spends the winter in the Triad in large numbers.

White-throated Sparrow is a common winter resident.

Song Sparrows are here year-round.

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Birds less likely at feeders:

American Robin, Bog Garden, Greensboro

Northern Mockingbird, Price Park, Greensboro

  • American Robins can be abundant or scarce in the Triad during winter because they form wandering flocks that may be elsewhere when you want to see them!

  • Northern Mockingbirds tend to be solitary in winter.

Flock of robins in a Greensboro yard.

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  • The Downy Woodpecker (below) is our smallest woodpecker, and is a year-round resident from Alaska to Florida.

Both the medium-sized Red-bellied Woodpecker (above) and the Downy Woodpecker are easily brought into our Triad backyards with suet feeders.

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Black Birds

  • The birds we often call “black birds” in Triad backyards and parks may be of several different species, usually crows, starlings and grackles.

  • The most commonly reported “black bird” in North America (and NC) is the American Crow.

Common Grackle, Greensboro deck

These species often come to dog food, scraps thrown out in our backyards, and occasionally to bird feeders.

European Starling, Greensboro yard

American Crow, Price Park, Greensboro

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Birds of Blue



Eastern Blue Bird

  • Once declining because of habitat destruction, Eastern Blue Birds are a conservation success story because of artificial nest boxes.

  • Blue Jays often can be found foraging for insects in backyards and parks.

In winter both of these species may form loose flocks.

Blue Jay

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Small Birds at Our Feeders

Tufted Titmouse

  • Two common birds at Triad feeding stations are the closely-related Carolina Chickadee and Tufted Titmouse.

  • The similar sized White-breasted Nuthatch often competes for seeds.

Carolina Chickadee

White-breasted Nuthatch

The southern Carolina Chickadee is replaced by the Black-capped Chickadee further north.

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The #1 Bird…Northern Cardinal


  • Ranked #1 both in the Triad and in U.S. backyards.

  • Has been expanding northward since the early 1800s.

  • Official NC state bird.


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Again, thank you!

For more information about the T. Gilbert Pearson (Guilford County) Chapter of the National Audubon Society, we invite you to go to our website:

Presentation design and graphics by the Great Backyard Bird Count. All North Carolina photographs used in the Triad presentation are by Dennis Burnette, TGP Audubon.

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