The Great Backyard Bird Count returns |

The Great Backyard Bird Count returns

PIERRE, S.D. – Millions of novice and accomplished bird watchers can make their love of nature count for science during the 22nd Annual Great Backyard Bird Count.

On Feb. 15-18, anyone can count birds wherever they are and enter their results online. These reports create a real-time picture of where birds are across the continent and contribute valuable information for science and conservation.

“During the count, bird watchers tally up birds for as little as 15 minutes, or for as long as they like, keeping track of the highest number of each bird species they see together at one time,” said Eileen Dowd Stukel, wildlife diversity coordinator for South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP). “People are encouraged to report birds from public lands, local parks and their own backyards.”

Participants enter their numbers online at where they can explore sightings maps, lists and charts as the count progresses.

During the 2018 count, South Dakota counters reported 82 species on 255 checklists. The highest species counts in the state were for Canada goose, mallard, horned lark, and red-winged blackbird. Hughes County had the highest number of species at 44, with Brookings, Yankton, Lawrence, and Clay counties not far behind.

There is no fee to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count. The event is led by the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, and Bird Studies Canada.

–South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks