12/05/2016
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Birding's biggest day set for 14 May

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The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Global Big Day will bring together the bird counts of people all over the world to support conservation, and you can take part.

The Global Big Day, which takes place on Saturday 14 May, aims to connect people from across the world to support a cause that transcends languages and cultures. From the southern tip of Africa to the soaring peaks of the Himalayas, and from the Ecuadorian rainforest to backyards in New York, birders everywhere will be a part of Team eBird, working to understand and conserve wild birds. You can help to mobilise birders in your area and see others' efforts worldwide by country, state and province.

In order to participate, you simply submit your counts to eBird on May 14. You don't need to be an expert or even go out all day long, as even a half-hour checklist of birds seen in your garden or at a local park will help. You can spend the entire day in the field, either on your own or with a group of friends, but please enter your counts as soon as possible, and preferably by Tuesday 17 May.

Last year, 14,000 people in 135 countries took part, uploading 45,000 checklists and logging 6,085 species. This year, Cornell hopes to break that record.


Global Big Day artwork by Luke Seitz.

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During the Big Day, Cornell's home page will be updated in near real time. You'll be able to follow the laboratory's own Team Sapsucker in Colorado and track how many species have been seen around the world in any region of interest to you.

Cornell is also encouraging birders to make plans to find difficult species in their local area and share their Global Big Day with others. Who will 'get' Lesser Prairie-Chicken? Resplendent Quetzal? Blue Pitta? Wallcreeper? You can also join the Facebook event.

Every bird entered into eBird counts as a part of Global Big Day. However, there are three suggestions for how you can make your sightings as valuable as possible: submit complete checklists; keep counts of all the birds that you see; and keep multiple checklists throughout the course of your day – that is, if you get in a car you should end that checklist and start a new one when you get to another location.

You can read more about the global Big Day in the current (May) issue of Birdwatch, on sale now.