If you’re a dedicated bird watcher, or just into birds, then you need to circle May 5 on your calendar and be ready to do your part for Global Big Day in parks, forests, backyards, desert scrub, and every habitat imaginable.
On Global Big Day, participants around the world report their observations to the eBird website (ebird.org) run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
A “Big Day” is an attempt to see or hear as many bird species as possible in 24 hours.
“You don’t need to do a full day of birding—10 minutes, an hour, whatever time you can devote to bird watching on May 5 is great,” says Chris Wood at the Cornell Lab. “Every bird counts!”
Global Big Day Tallies Bird Species
Last year, participants from more than 100 countries tallied 6,613 of the world’s approximately 10,000 known bird species from midnight to midnight.
That’s roughly two-thirds of all species, seen in a single day. All observations go into eBird–a massive database used by scientists, educators, and conservationists to advance bird conservation.
People already using the eBird online checklist program are ready to go.
Anyone participating for the first time can set up a free account at eBird.org.
Making the Most of Global Big Day
Here are some other ways to use eBird to get the most out of Global Big Day as well as everyday bird watching:
- Find birding “hotspots” in a specific area
- Use the free eBird Mobile app to record sightings in the field
- Upload and share bird photos and sound recordings in eBird checklists
- Get the free Merlin Bird ID app to help identify birds seen
The Cornell Lab’s expert birding team will be out on May 5 with the rest of the world’s bird watchers.
Team Sapsucker is splitting into three groups to seek out the birds of Colombia, Honduras, and California—key locations along the Pacific Flyway—a crucial migration route for birds in the Western Hemisphere.
The Sapsuckers’ count also helps raise funds for conservation, so the team set an ambitious goal: tally 500 bird species and raise $575,000 through pledges per species.
Chris Wood is leading the Sapsucker charge in Honduras. “Our bags are packed, supplies sorted, and spirits high for our all-out, 24-hour birding quest. We hope we’ll have lots of company from around the world!”
Download more tips and information about participating in Global Big Day and follow results as they come in. (PDF)