Pigeon with berry in its beak

Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Keeping a tally to help our feathered friends

A pigeon clutches a red berry in its mouth while foraging for food in the snow in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire, England.

Rapid climate change, habitat destruction, altered migration patterns, the spread of infectious diseases and a host of other crises are currently wreaking havoc on the birds of the world.

Luckily, here's one way you can help: Join the Great Backyard Bird Count, a four-day project organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. From Feb. 15-18, bird watchers of all ages are asked to count the number of feathered friends they observe from their own backyard.

Because bird populations are so dynamic and in flux, it can be difficult to document and understand these uniquely avian issues. Data compiled from the Great Backyard Bird Count will help scientists and bird enthusiasts learn more about how to help the world's avian population.

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Parakeets eat from snowy bird feeders

Photo: Phil Cole/Getty Images

Tropical birds meet snow

Parakeets congregate around snow-covered bird feeders in Carshalton Beeches, England.

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Albino pelican in the snow

Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Albino pelican

A stunning white and pink pelican rests on the snowy ground of St James's Park in London after enduring a heavy snowfall. Pelicans were first introduced to St James's Park as a gift from the Russian Ambassador in 1664.

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Seagull's breath

Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Gull's breathe

A seagull exhales a frosty, visible breathe into the freezing air in London.

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Birds perch on power lines

Photo: Andrej Isakovic/Getty Images

Chilling in a snowstorm

Pigeons perch and huddle on tramwires as a snow storm passes over in Belgrade, Serbia.

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A Kingfisher bird rests on a snow-covered wooden pole

Photo: Tauseed Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images

Perch fit for a king ... fisher

A kingfisher rests on a snow-covered wooden pole jutting out from a very frozen Dal Lake in Srinagar, India.

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Puffed up pigeons perch on a snowy street sign

Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Directing tourists?

Puffed up pigeons try to keep out of the snow by resting on a sign post in St. James's Park in London.

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Flamingos dip their talons into the cold, icy water

Photo: Patrick Hertzog/Getty Images

Frosty flamingos

Flamingos dip their talons into the freezing water at a snow-covered park in Strasbourg, eastern France.

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Seagull perches high above a city

Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

What are you staring at?

A seagull perches near the top of a very snowy Galata Tower in Istanbul, Turkey.

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Japanese cranes spar in the snow

Photo: Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

Rare cranes

Japanese cranes spar with each other in a snow-covered field near the village of Tsurui, Japan. About 900 of these endangered cranes, also known as tanchos, inhabit the Kushiro Marshland.

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Bearded tit bird shakes snow of its head

Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

'Do a barrel roll!'

A bearded tit barrels through falling snow and reedbeds in London's Hyde Park.

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Pigeons keep warm as snow falls

Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

Literal snow birds

Pigeons puff their feathers up to keep warm as snow falls around them in Paris.

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Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.

Snow birds prep for backyard census [Photos]
Get out your binoculars: The 16th annual Great Backyard Bird Count is upon us!