Global Big Day 2016!

By Nancy Auerbach May 8, 2016
Eryean Grasswren Simpson NT

Eyrean Grasswren, Simpson Desert, NT

How many birds can be seen in a single day? The 2015 Australia big day record is 117 (Nigel Jackett/Broome Bird Observatory).  Last July in Peru, Sean Williams did a bird race on foot, traveling 18.15 km and finding 345 species! In October 2015, Dušan Brinkhuizen, Rudy Gelis, Mitch Lysinger, and Tuomas Seimola recorded 431 species in Ecuador, a new world record. On Saturday May 14th, you can be a part of the biggest day of birding the world has ever known: Global Big Day. All you have to do is submit the birds you see on May 14th to eBird, and you’ll be a part of the global team! Wherever you are, your sightings can make a difference.

Last year on May 9, the first Global Big Day, more than 14,000 members of the worldwide birding community noted 6,158 species. This is more species in a single day than any one person has seen in an entire year. Can we pass that on May 14th? Is 7,000 possible?

On Global Big Day, every sighting counts. Even if you can only get out for a few minutes between other obligations, we want to know about it. Help put your local spot/state/country on the map, and make a difference. If you have a bit more time, how about challenging your friends to a friendly competition? Who can find more birds and submit more checklists on May 14th? Or if you made it out for last year’s GBD, can you beat your personal total from 2015? Check out last year’s results, and see if you can increase your region’s total this year.

Cornell Team Sapsucker will be heading to the state of Colorado, USA for May 14th; doing a big day where the prairies meet the mountains, aiming for a new Colorado big day record. Although this will not be as species-rich as last year’s Panama total of 320 species, it will still be a great time and should include lots of owls, jays, and hopefully specialties like Mountain Plover.

In order to surpass last year’s global total, we need both your sightings and your help spreading the word. Please consider telling a friend, checking out the Facebook event, or tweeting using #GBD2016. You can also check out some free webinars in both English and Spanish. We’re counting on you.

Of course, we want to make the GBD as easy and fun as possible to be a part of. For data entry, we suggest trying eBird Mobile—more than 60,000 eBirders have used eBird Mobile so far, and almost half of all eBird sightings come in through the mobile app! Learn how to get started with eBird Mobile—all for free of course! On the day itself, and in the days following, you can follow along with results in near-real-time at

GBD2015 list locations

Locations of Australia Global Big Day 2015 lists

One of our favorite parts of GBD is the stories of local engagement and participation; when local groups or organizations make amazing things happen on a global scale. South America has been an exciting place for this, with exceptional engagement throughout the continent. You can see great maps of participation in Brazil, throughout Peru, and across Venezuela. In India, our partners at Bird Count India have developed the concept of Endemic Bird Day; finding as many southern Asian endemics as possible on the Global Big Day. In Africa, exciting participation last year from Zimbabwe has paved the way for an even greater African turnout in 2016. Last year, roughly 35% of Africa’s bird species were reported, as compared to more than 70% from South America. Also helping the African cause is a collaboration with the excellent app BirdLasser, where any users of the BirdLasser app will be able to take part in the Global Big Day by using eBird data entry tools, and then have their sightings shared back into their BirdLasser account after the day itself.

However you get involved with Global Big Day, we hope you have a great time. This is our favorite day of the year here at eBird; and is really a testament to the amazing community of birders worldwide. We’re honored to provide tools and resources for such a great group of people, and look forward to seeing what you find on the 14th. Enjoy.