Winnie Ferrier – “The Great Backyard Bird Count”

by Winnie Ferrier, 6 March 2022.

The Global GBBC (Great Backyard Bird Count) celebrated its 25th anniversary this year in February.  For me it was just one year ago that I tentatively recorded in a notebook bird sightings from my yard, and for the first time put into my computer the species and numbers onto eBird.  I spent half an hour each morning and afternoon of the four days of the GBBC observing birds and accumulated 15 species, and a total of 147 birds.

I have learned so much since then.  Firstly, it doesn’t have to be just in my yard that I count birds for the GBBC.  It can be anywhere in my neighborhood or community.  So this year over the four days I submitted 9 checklists – 2 from looking out of my home window, 3 from walks around my neighborhood, and I went birding to Cranberry Lake, Myrtle Rocks, Brew Bay, and the Beach Gardens Marina.

I was fortunate enough this past year to participate in a Zoom course through Rocky Point Bird Observatory in Victoria that gave me the confidence to tally birds on my  iPhone using an eBird app – I’ve been inputting the birds that I observe on outings ever since!  Me – who has always been intimidated by anything “techy”!  My observation times for the GBBC this year ranged from 15 minutes to 1 ¾ hour each.  I had a terrific time with binoculars on my front, a backpack on my back and my point-and-shoot camera over my shoulder.  I felt like an adventurer, excited about what I might see next.  My goal was to try and find some birds that I hadn’t seen before. I was gratified in that I found three that were new to me.  In total I recorded 38 species and 863 birds in total.

I look back from just a year ago and celebrate my successes!