US Birding Programs

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National Citizen Science Opportunities

Christmas Bird Count

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is a census of birds in the Western Hemisphere, performed annually in the early Northern-hemisphere winter by volunteer birdwatchers and administered by the National Audubon Society. The purpose is to provide population data for use in science, especially conservation biology, though many people participate for recreation. This year's counts.

North American Breeding Bird Survey

The North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), a large-scale roadside survey of North American birds, is a joint project of the United States Geological Survey and the Canadian Wildlife Service. It primarily covers the continental United States and southern Canada, although survey routes have recently been initiated in Alaska and northern Mexico. The BBS was started in 1966 and now contains over 5,000 survey routes which are surveyed in June by experienced birders.


eBird is an online database of bird observations providing scientists, researchers and amateur naturalists with real-time data about bird distribution and abundance.

Project FeederWatch

Each year, 15,000 people count birds at their feeders for Project FeederWatch. With more than 1.5 million checklists submitted since 1987, FeederWatchers have contributed valuable data enabling scientists to monitor changes in the distribution and abundance of birds.


NestWatch participants help scientists track the breeding success of birds across North America by finding and monitoring bird nests.

Celebrate Urban Birds

Celebrate Urban Birds is a bilingual citizen science project focused on underserved urban and rural communities.

Great Backyard Bird Count

Begun in 1998, the four-day Great Backyard Bird Count was the first citizen-science program to collect and display bird observation data online on a large scale.

Habitat Network

Habitat Network collects detailed maps of landscapes and people's practices to document what is happening in our communities and explore how collective efforts to transform yards and urban landscapes into more diverse habitat may support wildlife and connect people to nature in communities around the world.

Chandler (Chan) S. Robbins

The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is a highly successful citizen science project started in 1965 by Chandler (Chan) S. Robbins at the U.S. Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Chan, who passed away in March 2017, started the survey, in part, to respond to a letter from a woman who inquired if the use of DDT to control insects locally could affect continental populations of songbirds. Chan answered that there was no continental survey that could answer the question. Fortunately, Chan's birding activities, such as participation in the Christmas Bird Count run by the National Audubon Society, provided him with a unique connection to the nationwide pool of birdwatchers. Enlisting large numbers of volunteers to count birds in a standardized way across the United States (and later Canada and Mexico), the BBS is truly a continental engagement of birders for a scientific purpose.