Count Those Birds! The Great Backyard Bird Count is Feb. 16-19

Plus 6 tips this family learned from watching their backyard birds (DIY Craft Included)

By Rickey and Missy Robertson, Publishers, Macaroni Kid Monroe-West Monroe January 26, 2024

Be part of a global effort to help scientists better understand birds! The 25th Anniversary of The Great Backyard Bird Count takes place each February and will be held February 16th - 19th, 2024. 

During this time, you select the place you would like to observe birds. It could be your backyard or a park and then watch and listen for at least 15 minutes each of the four days. The purpose of this citizen science project is to count as many birds as participants can find and report those findings back to the organizers, which include the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society, and Birds Canada. 

This is the time to get outdoors and have some fun! Heading to some of our local bird hotspots would be a great option such as Black Bayou Wildlife Refuge, Highland Wetlands Park, and Kiroli Park, or head to the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens for a free event from each of the four days (Feb. 16th - 19th), 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm. Please make sure you enter at the Riverside Gate. 


There are almost 500 species of birds in Louisiana! I bet you would love to see a list!

The observations and reports made by regular backyard bird observers help scientists better understand global bird populations before one of their annual migrations.

Want to participate? It's easy! Here's how:

1. Decide where you will watch birds.

2. Watch birds for 15 minutes or more, at least once over the four days, February 16th - 19th, 2024.

3. Count all the birds you see or hear within your planned time/location and use the best tool for sharing your bird sightings. If you are a beginning bird admirer and new to the count, try using the Merlin Bird ID app. If you have participated in the count before, try eBird Mobile app or enter your bird list on the eBird website.

Another Birdtastic Adventure!
If you find that you have fallen in love with birds, you should consider a trip to the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo at their new Budgie Exhibit! Make sure to get some of the feeding sticks for added fun as they land on your hand to eat!

6 things we've learned by feeding the birds:

While we love watching from our windows, birdwatching is a fun way to get outside, get fresh air, and learn something new. It’s a great reason to head to your local park or take a walk around the neighborhood. You can even make it into a competition or scavenger hunt to keep the kids engaged! Who can find the most birds? Who can see a Robin first?

Here are six cool facts we've learned about birds and birdwatching:

  1. Getting different-sized bird feeders encourages different types of birds. 
  2. Sunflower seeds are popular with our birds but make a mess. You can purchase pre-shelled sunflower seeds, but they cost a little more.
  3. Mealworms seem to be a favorite of all of our birds. We add those to the seed we put out and watch them dig through it for the mealworms.
  4. The chickadee, thrasher, and woodpecker usually choose the bird feeder with dry fruit over the feeder with regular wild bird food.
  5. No matter how high we put the bird feeders on our windows, the squirrels still try to get food. While we do not mind feeding the squirrels – we enjoy watching them too – we do mind them hogging the bird feeders or knocking them down. We have found that squirrels do not like spicy foods, but it does not bother the birds. Adding a little capsaicin or hot peppers to the bird feeder can deter squirrels from taking over the feeders.
  6. Binoculars add to the bird-watching fun!

Project idea: DIY birdfeeder!

How to Make Cookie-Cutter Bird Feeders