News

Halftime Snapshot

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Here’s a quick snapshot of where we stand at roughly the half-way mark in the 2018 Great Backyard Bird Count, once again on pace to break all previous count records for participation. Keep entering your GBBC checklists! And remember, you have until March 1 to enter your data from the four days of the GBBC.

Notable Trends

map of Red Crossbill reports

Click image for large map with current reports. Small map shows Red Crossbill reports from Friday, February 16, through early Sunday, February 18, 2018.

    Across the Northern Hemisphere, Red Crossbills are on the move because cone crops are scarce in many areas. The desert Southwest, Great Plains, eastern Canada, and parts of the northeastern United States are all reporting higher-than-average numbers (see eBird map).

Learn more about this fascinating species.

Other winter finches are mostly staying north this winter, but there has been a push of Common Redpolls into the Midwest and Great Plains, including some in Colorado. 

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl photo by Nick Lund.


This is a “good” year for Snowy Owls moving south of the Arctic, at least in the eastern U.S. and southern Canada. Check out this eBird map to see where the snowies are being reported. The Great Lakes and East Coast are the Snowy Owl hotspots at the moment. The bird shown sitting on the U. S. Department of Agriculture building in Washington, D.C. is one of the most southernmost owls reported so far.

By the Numbers

By mid-afternoon Sunday, GBBC checklists are up 3.9 percent, compared to the same time last year. Bird watchers have submitted more than 80,000 checklists reporting more than 5,260 species from around the world.

Ranked by number of species, India is outstripping everyone else with 730 species. Brazil follows with 707 species, then Colombia with 676, Mexico has 659, and the United States is next with 617 species.

Whooping Crane

Whooping Crane by Craig McIntyre, Texas, 2018 GBBC.

Top-10 countries by checklists submitted:

  1. United States (49,562)
  2. India (6,201)
  3. Canada (5,887)
  4. Australia (1,266)
  5. Spain (945)
  6. Mexico (502)
  7. United Kingdom (492)
  8. Portugal (362)
  9. Taiwan (315)
  10. Costa Rica (280)

The numbers will already have changed by the time you read this, so check out the world rankings to see the latest.

If you’re wondering about reports for a specific species, try out the “Species Map” tool. Enter the species you want in the first field. The date range is already set for the span of the GBBC. If you have a specific location in mind, you can enter that too. At first you’ll see purple patches. But zoom in closer and click on “show points sooner” in the right column to see red markers where the species has been reported. If you click on a marker, you can see the checklist itself. It’s fun to explore!

There are two ways to enjoy photos of birds from around the world. See what’s being attached to participant checklists in the eBird media catalog and visit the GBBC online photo gallery to see just a sampling of images submitted so far for the GBBC photo contest.  

Keep up the good work, bird watchers!