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Global Big Day is happening!

This is it! The time has come! Birding’s biggest day is here. Global Big Day has already begun in places like Australia and New Zealand, and the first sightings are on the board. Follow along with real-time updates here. Over the next few days, sightings from 13 May will pour in from all over the world. If you can make it outside for just a few minutes to find at least one bird on 13 May, you’ll be able to join a global team that spans more than 150 countries. Learn how to make your sightings count. We’ll see you out there!

Kalle Rainio, April eBirder of the Month

Please join us in congratulating Kalle Rainio of Littoinen, Finland, winner of the April 2017 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Our April winner was drawn from eBirders who submitted 15 eligible checklists using eBird Mobile in April. Kalle’s name was drawn randomly from the 5,382 eligible eBirders that achieved the April challenge threshold. Kalle will receive new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars for his eBirding efforts. Don’t forget, eBirding on 13 May for Global Big Day could win you binoculars for your participation! Read more to see Kalle’s fantastic story.

Global Big Day—one week away

The familiar Barn Swallow (right) has been recorded in eBird from 222 countries. You can hope to spot a Barn Swallow almost anywhere on the planet, from Alaska to Argentina, Siberia to Australia, Iceland to South Africa. Barn Swallows criss-cross the equator and traverse the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Their movements not only span an entire planet of birds, but connect a worldwide community of birders.

In the same way, Global Big Day and eBird connect all of your local birds with the rest of the world, making a real difference in the collective understanding of birds worldwide. On 13 May, every bird that you report contributes to the global team total for an unprecedented snapshot of our planet’s bird diversity. Every bird counts.

BirdCast Migration Forecast, 5-12 May

It’s BirdCast time! Do you ever wonder what migrant birds will be arriving soon in your local birding spots? BirdCast’s weekly migration forecasts keep you up to date with what’s on deck for migration. The BirdCast forecasts highlight migrant species that you can expect to see in each of the regions covered: Upper Midwest and Northeast; Gulf Coast and Southeast; Great Plains; and West. All of these forecasts are generated with your eBird data, and wouldn’t be possible without eBirders like you! Although these forecasts are currently just for the continental United States, as we get more sightings from the rest of the world we’ll be able to bring BirdCast to more regions. Read more to see what’s happening across the US in the coming days.

April Millions

Last month brought two major milestones for eBird, amazingly each of the same bird species! On 8 April, Bill Thompson submitted a checklist from Massachusetts that included a Red-tailed Hawk: the 400-millionth sighting in eBird. A couple weeks later, Suzanne Pudelek added a photo of a Red-tailed Hawk from Michigan—the 3-millionth bird photograph in the Macaulay Library. These exciting benchmarks are a testament to the amazing contributions from you, the global community of eBirders. We’re profoundly grateful for everything that you do as a part of eBird. Thank you.

Half-billion, here we come.

BirdSleuth Garden Grants

Suburban and urban green spaces, including schoolyards, can provide useful habitat to migrating birds, and can host high concentrations of them. The BirdSleuth Garden Grant program, established by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Alaska® fertilizer, encourages teachers to create bird-friendly, kid-friendly gardens that provide a wonderful space where kids can watch, enjoy, and count birds. “Inspiring future gardeners with hands on experience growing bird habitat and garden fresh foods and providing teachers with supporting STEM curriculum is what this program is all about,” says Brian Thille, Senior Director of Marketing at Alaska®. Research shows that students who participate in school gardens and spend more time outside are not only healthier and happier, but score significantly higher on science achievement tests.

Global Big Day webinars: 9 & 11 May

The Cornell Lab’s BirdSleuth K-12 education program will be hosting a webinar for educators focusing on Global Big Day. The webinar will be offered four times, twice each in English and Spanish, on 9 May and 11 May. See below for times. The English version (1 hour) will give educators the confidence to work with students around migration, eBird, and Global Big Day. During this webinar educators will learn how to define migration and understand the purpose of these seasonal movements; understand the concept of citizen science and the program eBird; explore citizen-science data through an educators perspective; and how to participate in Global Big Day. The Spanish webinar (30 minutes) will be more generalized and discuss how educators can engage their communities in Global Big Day.

Bird Academy giveaway—Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology

Have you ever wanted to learn more about how birds navigate in migration? The science behind flight? We’re excited to partner with the Cornell Lab’s Bird Academy to offer a suite of exciting educational resources in thanks for your eBirding: on 13 May, Global Big Day, every eligible checklist that you submit gives you a chance to win free access to Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology CourseThis is a ~$350 value with the included e-book, and we’ll have 5 copies to give away.

Five lucky eBirders will get this course for free from their Global Big Day eBirding! If you like taking part in the eBirder of the Month Challenges, here are even more excuses to motivate yourself to get out birding. Each month of 2017 will feature a different Bird Academy course offering—tune in at the start of June to see what’s on tap for next month.

BirdCast Migration Forecast, 28 April-5 May

It’s BirdCast time! Do you ever wonder what migrant birds will be arriving soon in your local birding spots? BirdCast’s weekly migration forecasts keep you up to date with what’s on deck for migration. The BirdCast forecasts highlight migrant species that you can expect to see in each of the regions covered: Upper Midwest and Northeast; Gulf Coast and Southeast; Great Plains; and West. All of these forecasts are generated with your eBird data, and wouldn’t be possible without eBirders like you! Although these forecasts are currently just for the continental United States, as we get more sightings from the rest of the world we’ll be able to bring BirdCast to more parts of the world. Read more to see what’s happening across the US in the coming days.

May eBirder of the Month Challenge

This May’s eBirder of the Month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, is all about birding on Global Big Day! 13 May is the third Global Big Day, bringing together birders around the world for birding’s biggest day. In last year’s Global Big Day we noted 6,332 species together as a global birding community—can we top that this year?! The eBirder of the month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 3 or more eligible checklists on 13 May. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.