Contributed by Michele Miller Houck

On February 16-19, the NC Science Trail is going to the birds! 
2024 marks the 27th anniversary of the Great Backyard Bird Count. In North Carolina, we celebrate by participating in the NC Bird Count – a citizen science program for all ages created by Science Across NC. During this event, everyone is invited to report observations of their local birds directly to a global science platform called eBird. These checklists help scientists to track important changes in bird numbers over time.

Brown thrasher in North Carolina, Courtesy of Science Across NC - North Carolinians doing science – together!

How to Participate

  1. Find a place to watch birds! Visit a favorite local birding hotspot or watch the feeder in your own backyard. You can find events near you by checking out this NC Bird Count event listing –
  2. Watch birds for at least 15 minutes. Make a checklist recording the total number of every bird that you see or hear that you know how to identify.
  3. Submit your checklists through the eBird website or app. 
    • New to eBird? Check out our Quick Guide to eBird for Android and Apple phones! It will walk you through how to use the smartphone app and website to submit your checklists. 
    • Need bird ID help? Use the Merlin Bird ID app on your smartphone or the website!

Earn a free badge by completing a minimum of three (3) checklists (at least 15 minutes of birdwatching per checklist) and report your participation on

The NC Bird Count is a statewide event that runs alongside the Great Backyard Bird Count. By submitting at least three checklists on eBird, birders of all ages, abilities, and interests can earn a custom embroidered badge from Science Across NC – a collaborative effort of organizations invested in getting people outside and engaged in authentic scientific research. 

To learn more and start the journey towards earning a badge, join us to count your backyard birds! For more information, visit

Are you a formal educator who would like to get your students involved in the NC Bird Count? Check out our educator guide for ideas for how to tie the event to your standards!

Great Blue Heron in North Carolina