Great American Back Yard Bird Watch Results

2017 GBBC Summary

March 3, 2017
By Marshall Iliff and Pat Leonard

Another Great Backyard Bird Count is in the books, and thanks to participants from around the world, it was the biggest count in its 20-year history. Bird watchers set a new high bar for number of checklists submitted and total number of species reported. Whether longtime contributors or first-timers, many expressed their enjoyment of the experience.

Downy Woodpecker by Shelia Rudesill, North Carolina, 2017 GBBC.

Downy Woodpecker by Shelia Rudesill,

North Carolina, 2017 GBBC.

Schoolchildren in Memphis, Tennessee, clearly had fun with their count. Their teacher wrote to say:

“Our school ‘Backyard Bird Watch’ event was wonderful. As a second grader told the adult leader of her group, ‘This is the best day of my life! I got to see a Downy Woodpecker.’ ”  

We hope many of you experienced a similar thrill during the count!

Let’s look at some of the numbers as of the afternoon of March 3, 2017–they’re pretty impressive!

Estimated Participants: 214,018 (2016 final total estimate: 163,763)

Species: 5,940 (2016 final total: 5,689)

Complete Checklists: 173,826 (2016 final total: 162,052)

Note that some of the numbers may still change slightly as the final checklists for the GBBC dates are added through eBird or flagged reports are validated by our reviewers. Our Top 10 lists tell a few stories, too.

Top 10 most frequently reported species:

(number of GBBC checklists reporting this species)

What’s interesting to note in this list is that the American Crow has bounced all the way up to the number two spot. It has typically come in near the bottom of the Top 10 ever since West Nile Virus appeared in North America in 1999. Perhaps the crows are finally rebounding after the virus took a serious toll on their overall population.

Species

Number of Checklists

Northern Cardinal

 52,422

American Crow

 47,275

Mourning Dove

 47,076

Dark-eyed Junco

 42,208

Downy Woodpecker

 38,760

Blue Jay

 38,402

Black-capped Chickadee

 36,417

House Finch

 35,889

House Sparrow

 33,749

White-breasted Nuthatch

32,598

Data totals as of March 3, 2017

Note: All Top 10 species are common in North America, reflecting continued high participation from this region.


Top 10 most numerous species:

(sum of how many individuals were observed across all GBBC checklists):

Species

Number of Individuals

Snow Goose

4,793,261

Red-winged Blackbird

 2,464,572

Canada Goose

 1,895,077

European Starling

 919,038

Mallard

 715,594

Ring-billed Gull

 647,950

American Coot

500,261

Greater White-fronted Goose

 426,040

Common Grackle

416,720

American Crow

 378,483

Data totals as of March 2, 2017

Note: These Top 10 species are common in North America, reflecting high participation from this region.

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