The Great Backyard Bird Count

children looking through binoculars

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News Release Date: January 5, 2018

Contact: Rhonda Schier, 314-655-1634

Contact: Jenna Todoroff, 636-530-1235

Discover Nature and Identify Birds at
“The Great Backyard Bird Count” at the Gateway Arch Grounds

Collect scientific data, see wild birds, and learn about natural and cultural history on February 17th

The National Park Service invites visitors of all ages on a winter adventure to explore the Gateway Arch’s renovated “backyard” and connect with nature at The Great Backyard Bird Count at the Gateway Arch grounds on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. Launched in 1998, the Great Backyard Bird Count is a worldwide citizen science initiative to create a snapshot of birds all across the globe and answer “big picture” questions about what’s happening to bird populations over time. Last year more than 160,000 people participated from more than 130 countries.

The Great Backyard Bird Count at the Arch will feature special programs focusing on birds and their life cycle, the importance of citizen science and bird watching, and one of our greatest natural resources: the Mississippi River. Opportunities to tour the park grounds for optimal bird watching and bird counting opportunities will be available. Danny Brown, a freelance wildlife photographer who specializes in Missouri animals, will lead discussions about his experience photographing birds; and John Miller will discuss Purple Martins and the importance of providing their habitat.


Other activities include: a special Citizen Science Junior Ranger badge and activity sheet, interactive stations featuring bird skulls and adaptations, and group oil painting of a John James Audubon print led by National Park Ranger Tony Gilpin.


“Hosting The Great Backyard Bird Count at the Gateway Arch allows bird watchers of all ages and skill levels to not only explore nature at the Gateway Arch’s renovated park grounds, but also help scientists collect data on inhabiting birds in the area such as eagles, robins and sparrows,” says Rhonda Schier, Chief of Museum Services and Interpretation at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.


This event is made possible by the National Park Service and Audubon Center at Riverlands, in partnership with Gateway Arch Park Foundation, Jefferson National Parks Association and The City of St. Louis Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.


WHAT: Great Backyard Bird Count
WHEN: Saturday, February 17, 2018; 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

WHERE: Gateway Arch Park Grounds

COST: Free and open to all ages


Attendees will meet at the south leg of the Arch. Staff will walk them to birding stations at times below. All other activities will take place in the Gateway Arch Visitor Center. Presentations will take place in the Tucker Theater inside the Arch Visitor Center.


9:15 a.m.: First bird count group departs for Arch grounds exploration

10:00 a.m.: Presentation by Danny Brown in the Tucker Theater

10:15 a.m.: Second bird count group departs for Arch grounds exploration

10:45 a.m.: Presentation by John Miller in the Tucker Theater

11:00 a.m.: Third bird count group departs for Arch grounds exploration

11:30 a.m.: Presentation by Danny Brown in the Tucker Theater



The Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse are part of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, located on the riverfront in downtown St. Louis. The Gateway Arch Visitor Center features The Arch Store and Monument to the Dream documentary movie. The Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the winter. The Old Courthouse which features restored courtrooms and gallery exhibits about the Dredd Scott trials, westward expansion and early St. Louis, is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The park is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The Courthouse is located at 11 North Fourth Street, St. Louis, MO 63102. Programs are free and made possible by the generous support from Jefferson National Parks Association and Bi-State Development.


Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. Now, more than 160,000 people of all ages and walks of life worldwide join the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.


Last updated: February 2, 2018

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11. North 4th Street
St. Louis, MO 63102


(314) 655-1600

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