The Great Backyard Bird Count

Kristen De Lay, one of our favorite neighborhood environmental advocates,1 tells us about an upcoming event that is for the benefit of the birds we love to see and hear. Everyone can participate! You can prepare by reading about it now, and following the steps Kristen describes for us. 

Join Sustainable Southern Gables and the Southern Gables Neighborhood Association by participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count happening Feb. 12-15. It takes just 15 minutes (minimum) and helps scientists better understand what is happening with our bird population as annual migrations begin. 


When is it? February 12-15, 2021
Why Do it?  The observations made by us help scientists better understand global bird populations before their annual migrations begin.
How Much Time Will it Take?  Only a minimum of 15 minutes is requested. Report more if you have time. You might find yourself enjoying it! 

How Do I Sign Up?

    1. Visit
    2. Create a free eBIRD account, by selecting “My eBIRD” in the top navigation and follow the prompts to create a new account.
    3. Once your account is created, you’re ready to begin counting!

Counting Instructions

Count birds anywhere you like for at LEAST 15 minutes—or for as long as you wish. You could count from your own kitchen table, go for a walk around the neighborhood or even head down to the Bear Creek Green Belt. Keep track of the kinds of birds you see and how long you watched.

Make your best estimate of how many birds you saw of each species. For example, 5 Blue Jays, 3 Mallard Ducks, 10 finches. Huge flocks may be a challenge, but your best guess is still valuable.

Put in a new checklist:

  • for each new day for each different location
  • for the same location, same day, if you counted at a different time of day

Enter your counts

You can enter your counts four ways:

    1. Merlin Bird ID app
      1. Apple
      2. Android
    2. eBird Mobile app
      1. Apple
      2. Android
    3. eBird web page –
    4. Merlin Desktop Tools –

Bird Identification Resources

Not familiar with birds and are new to identification? There are some great resources available to us. I do recommend you downloading these a week or so before the bird count to practice. You can go ahead and start submitting your bird counts, if you’d like. It’s a good way to get familiar with the tools. 

    1. Book –  “Birds of Colorado Field Guide” by Stan Tekiela – I bought my copy at Wild Bird on Wadsworth, but I am sure they are available via Amazon or your favorite book retailer.
    2. App – The Merlin Bird ID app will walk you through the birds you see. You can describe the size and color and then help you come to an idea of what type of bird you’re seeing.
                Note: You’ll need to download the Rocky Mountain bird pack to your phone.
    3. Website – The Merlin Bird ID for use on your desktop –

Want to attract more birds to your backyard? 

Join the City of Lakewood’s Sustainability Department’s series of “Safer and Sustainable at Home” Series webinar titled “Support the Birds in Your Backyard” on February 13th at 10-11 am MST. Southern Gables resident Kristen De Lay will be presenting. Register by clicking on the link below. 

Register for FREE at the City of Lakewood. 

  1. Kristen De Lay has written about identifying and controlling invasive plant species in our neighborhood, and how to attract baby butterflies.

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