News & Features

Global Big Day Is Coming On May 13, 2017

Lesson's (Blue-crowned) Motmot at El Jaguar Reserva, Nicaragua, by Doug Gross

It’s that time of year again! In only a few days we will celebrate and participate in Global Big Day. Your contributions to the past two Global Big Days have set back-to-back world records for the most bird species seen in a single day. As devout local and world birders, Pennsylvanians play a big part in Global Big Day. Last year’s Global Big Day featured more than 60% of the world’s bird species in a single day, with sightings coming in from more than 17,500 eBirders spread across 154 countries. Thank you for making this possible. Want to be a part of the fun again? If you need an excuse to go enjoy birds on a lovely weekend day in May, we’ve got you covered. Read more for some tips on maximizing your Global Big Day experience.

Pennsylvania is one of the best-represented states in the Union for eBird. And, our state sends many birders to the Neotropics for birding adventures. Tour companies and NGOs with international birding and conservation focus are based in our state. So, this Global Big Day is a real nature for the state’s birders. And, this day reminds us of how our birds connect our state with the rest of the world. Prairie Warblers singing now in our state were in Jamaica only a few weeks ago. Wood Thrushes from Pennsylvania migrate to and from Honduras and Nicaragua. There, these birds mix with the locals including motmots, todies, trogons, and a host of other tropicals. So, visit your favorite hot spots or adopt new ones to add to the Global Big Day totals.

Golden-winged Warbler in El Jaguar coffee plantation in Nicaragua by Georges Durea

So many of the warblers, vireos, tanagers, orioles, and other songbirds that attract people to the sport of birding travel many miles to visit Pennsylvania each spring. You do not have to look far to find a feathered international traveler. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird or Baltimore Oriole visiting your porch sugar water feeder just flew in from a Latin American country.

Blue-gray Tanager in Boquete, Panama, while birding on vacacation. By Doug Gross

If you’re looking to get started preparing for this year’s Global Big Day, here are three quick ways to have the most fun:

  1. “Scout” your birding spots for May 13. Finding where the birds are ahead of time makes the big day birding more fun, and also gives you more chances to be out enjoying birds. Perfect. Learn how to use eBird to find birds. 
  2. Use eBird Mobile. This free data-entry app makes it so you don’t have to enter your sightings at the end of the day, and tools like Quick Entry mean you have less time with your face in a notebook. Get eBird Mobile here.
  3. Get a friend involved. Perhaps this is a good birding buddy, or someone who has never been birding before. Make it a friendly competition, or join forces as a Global Big Day team, and put your marker on the global participation map. Share on social media using #eBird_GBD. Check out the Facebook event.
  4. Share your discoveries. Post your findings on the social media pages of your local bird clubs and Audubon chapters.       Simply clipping your eBird field report to a Facebook post with a few words and photos of the highlights can educate the group to the possibilities of birding locally to help globally.

Baltimore Orioles are colorful reminders of how our birds visit the tropics. Photo by Jake Dingel

No matter what you do—have a great time, enjoy the birds around you, and let us know what you find! We’re excited to see what we can achieve together on Global Big Day.

Yucatan Jay by Ian Davis, CLO

Invite others to join in the fun across the entire globe!

eBird Central and Doug Gross, PA eBird

Black-billed Cuckoo, a mysterious Neotropical migrant, by Jake Dingel