This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Help scientists around the world understand and protect birds in this global event

Every February, bird lovers around the world gather to observe and count birds in their area to help scientists understand bird migration, conservation efforts and more during an event known as the Great Backyard Bird Count. This year’s event will take place Feb. 17-20 and it’s easy to get involved. With minimal equipment and your smartphone or computer, you can help scientists around the world get a better understanding of the birds we share our world with.

In this article: Woodlink Going Green Platform Bird Feeder, National Audubon Society “Birds of North America” and Rite in the Rain Weatherproof Soft-Cover Pocket Notebook.

How to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a joint venture between the Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Birds Canada to help study and preserve vital bird populations. Amateur and professional birdwatchers are invited to contribute to the study individually or in groups. Simply decide on a location to watch birds and observe the environment for at least 15 minutes at least once over the four days of the event.

As you watch, identify all the birds you see or hear and record them using an app or on a printed GBBC checklist. To get started, go to to learn more.

Great Backyard Bird Count apps

The Great Backyard Bird Count recommends two apps to count birds during the event: Merlin Bird ID or eBird.

If you’re new to birdwatching, or if this is your first year participating in the count, Merlin is the recommended app to use. The Merlin app, from the Cornell Lab, guides you through a brief series of questions to help you identify birds. Merlin can also help identify birds based on photos you take or recordings of birdsong. The app is available in 11 languages to help get more people involved in birdwatching.

For more advanced birders, or those who have participated in the GBBC before, try using the eBird app or website. This app lets you start a checklist of bird sightings and add them directly to the global database of bird records. GPS tracking can help you record where you went and how long you explored so you can focus on birdwatching. At the end of your count, tap “Stop” and enter the data about your birdwatching session.

If you prefer to tally your bird count on paper and enter your data later, you can use to upload your sightings. Remember to include your location, the date of your observation and its duration, as well as the birds you saw. Data from both apps and the desktop version of eBird all go to the same Cornell database for analysis.

Best birdwatching products 

Best Woodlink Going Green Platform Bird Feeder

Woodlink Going Green Platform Bird Feeder

Attract a wide variety of birds for your count with this simple feeder, which can be filled with a mix of birdseed for broader appeal. It’s made in the USA from recycled plastic and a durable powder-coated metal screen.

Sold by Amazon

Best More Birds Bird Health+ Ruby Hummingbird Feeder

More Birds Bird Health and Ruby Hummingbird Feeder

This hummingbird feeder is designed to optimize comfortable feeding for all hummingbird species. Made from BPA-free and recyclable materials, it features four bee-deterring ports and holds 10 ounces of nectar. 

Sold by Petco and Amazon

Best Kaytee Waste Free Wild Bird Food

Kaytee Waste Free Wild Bird Food

Feed your wild birds without making a mess of your lawn or deck with this seed mix, which contains 40% hull-less sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds attract lots of birds, and they’re especially popular with cardinals and finches.

Sold by Petco

Best National Audubon Society Birds of North America

National Audubon Society “Birds of North America”

Identify the birds in your yard or on your hike with this trusted reference guide. It features more than 3,500 color photographs of more than 800 species of birds, along with information on the bird’s range, nesting habits, conservation status and more. 

Sold by Amazon

Best The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America

The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America

This regional guide from bird authority David Sibley features 650 bird species that can be found east of the Rocky Mountains. Sibley guides are available for the Western region as well to help you identify feathered visitors no matter where in the USA you live.

Sold by Amazon

Best Vortex Diamondback HD 10x42 Binoculars

Vortex Diamondback HD 10×42 Binoculars

These high-quality binoculars offer 10x magnification for excellent image quality and color. The multi-coated, 42-millimeter lenses resist smudging, scratching and dirt. Adjustable eyecups, a tripod mount and a center focus wheel help create a universally comfortable viewing experience.

Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods and Amazon

Best Rite In The Rain Weatherproof Soft Cover Pocket Notebook

Rite in the Rain Weatherproof Soft-Cover Pocket Notebook

Whether you’re birdwatching outdoors or from the comfort of your home, this all-weather notebook lets you track your findings and sketch what birds you see. If the wood-based paper gets wet, it can still be written on with a standard pencil. 

Sold by Amazon

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Laura Duerr writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

Copyright 2023 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.