The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), the largest effort so far to track birds worldwide, has set new records, with more than 25 million birds documented on 116,000 checklists in just four days.
So far, 3,138 species have been recorded, which represents one-third of the world's total bird species. The number crunching isn't even over with yet, as data will continue to flow in until March 1, although the count itself took place from Feb. 15-18.
"This is a milestone for citizen science in so many respects - number of species, diversity of countries involved, total participants, and number of individual birds recorded," John Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, said in a press release. "We hope this is just the start of something far larger, engaging the whole world in creating a detailed annual snapshot of how all our planet's birds are faring as the years go by."
Here are some of the key findings, according to the GBBC:
Top 5 Most Reported Species (reported on highest number of checklists): Northern Cardinal; Dark-eyed Junco; Mourning Dove; Downy Woodpecker; House Finch Top 5 Most Common Birds (most individuals reported): Snow Goose; Canada Goose; Red-winged Blackbird; European Starling; American Coot Finch Invasion: A massive number of northern finch species moved into the United States including the Common Redpoll, reported in a record 36 states. Scientists believe these periodic movements are related to natural fluctuations in crops of conifer cones and other seeds in Canada.