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October Big Day results—more than 6,000 species in one day!

By jallair October 11, 2018
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On 6 October, more than 17,000 birders around the world went birding together for the first October Big Day. Reporting from 146 countries, they tallied 6,136 species of birds: more than half of the world’s birds in a single day. eBirders added 21,149 pictures to their lists, photographing 2,356 species in these 24 hours. This is a new height for a single day of October birding.

As we watch sightings roll in for these Big Day events, the amazing power of the global birding community is so humbling—uniting people across every boundary in our shared passion for birds. This passion allows us to collect unprecedented information on where and when birds occur around the world, and to transform that information into science and research products that can help with bird conservation worldwide. October Big Day alone collected 725,000 bird observations towards these goals. Stay tuned for some exciting new eBird Science products in the coming months.

Below we’ve included some of our favorite highlights from around the world on 6 October. We hope you had as much fun with October Big Day as we did. If you haven’t entered your sightings yet, don’t worry. These are just the initial results—your checklists will still count! Enter sightings and follow along with continued updates here.


United States & Canada

Red-breasted Nuthatches are everywhere this autumn in the US and Canada (see map). eBirders reported 6,914 individuals of this species on October Big Day. Photo by Doug Hitchcox/Macaulay Library.

A bit of rain on October Big Day throughout parts of the US and Canada couldn’t keep birders inside! The final US tally was 677, made possible by great totals from states like California (352), Texas (342), and Arizona (265). US eBirders also documented 537 species (79% of all birds observed!) with photographs in their eBird checklists, and 84 with audio—quite impressive!

Canadian birding teams found 324 species, with the highest single-person total of 141 species from David Bell in British Columbia. Ontario, Quebec, and British Colombia were neck-and-neck for species, with 203, 196, 193 respectively. Canadian eBirders logged 3,638 checklists on the day, for #2 globally.


Mexico & Central America

Perhaps Central America’s most emblematic species, the Resplendent Quetzal was noted on October Big Day from 5 countries. Photo by Stu Elsom/Macaulay Library.

More than 600 ebirders in Central America searched for birds in the midst of autumn migration, notching a very nice 924 species for the region. Costa Rica and Mexico vied for #1, with Costa Rica’s 653 species coming in *just* ahead of Mexico’s 645. Guatemala’s 501 and Belize’s 402 species were also quite impressive. Sixteen different birders saw more than 200 species in the single day, and the region’s incredible biodiversity was critical in the global tally for October Big Day.


South America

This Rusty-barred Owl wasn’t shy on the October Big Day near São Paulo, Brazil. Photo by Rafael Gonçalves Moreira/Macaulay Library

From the highest reaches of the Andes to the depths of the Amazon rainforest, nowhere in the world compares to South America’s bird diversity. This is truly the bird continent. On 6 October, this was readily apparent: 40% of October Big Day’s species came from this region.

For those who have followed and participated in past Global Big Days, it’ll come as no surprise to you that the top three countries in the world for species were Colombia, Brazil, and Peru. The exciting news for this October Big Day is that Bolivia and Argentina really took this as a chance to shine in their springtime—taking 4th and 6th globally with 854 and 764 species. Will Bolivia join the 1,000 club on the next Global Big Day? Argentina also reported an amazing 1,660 checklists, third only behind the US and Canada.

There is always so much to talk about in South America that it is impossible to do it justice. There are many more exciting local stories of triumph, collaboration, and discovery, and we thank all of you for sharing them with us.


West Indies

Puerto Rican Woodpecker is one of the 146 species reported from Puerto Rico on October Big day, enough for #1 in the region! Photo by Marc Kramer/Macaulay Library.

With so many endemic species, the West Indies are essential to a worldwide birding effort. Check out the list of species reported (258) and you’ll be wanting to be on an island next big day! Puerto Rico turned the tables on the Bahamas since Global Big Day, tallying 146 vs. 141.  Sergio A. Colón López (113) and Gabriel Lugo-Ortíz (111) both topped 100 species in the region on the day. Eleven other island nations also made an impact, thanks to help from BirdsCaribbean, Sociedad Ornithológica Puertorriqueña Inc. (SOPI), and the many other excellent groups working on birds in the region.


Africa

Bokmakierie is one of the more-than-30 species of shrike reported from Africa on October Big Day. Photo by Christoph Moning/Macaulay Library

Africa is one of those bird-rich places that is essential for global species coverage on eBird Big Days, yet with tough access and few local birders finding species can be a challenge. Have no fear, eBirders covered the continent from Algeria to Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau to South Africa. One hundred twenty-seven birders from 22 countries joined in the effort, finding 953 species on 6 October. South Africa (405), Kenya (337), and Uganda (279) topped the charts for species, and Morocco reported nearly 15% of all of the checklists from the continent.

We really look forward to seeing what African birders continue to discover and report to eBird—every sighting counts!


Asia

This Green Bee-Eater is one of the 1,402 species reported from Asia on October Big Day. Photo by Ramesh Desai/Macaulay Library.

India topped the species list in Asia on October Big Day, with 526 thanks to BirdCount India and the excellent Indian eBirding community. Malaysia leapt into second with 376, including an incredible 248 seen by Neoh Hor Kee—one of the highest single-day species totals ever for Asia.

In southeast Asia, the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand reprised Campus Big Day to get university students out across Thailand in a campus-versus-campus competition. Sixty-five eBirders ended up tallying 287 species throughout Thailand on 6 October. These reports are especially valuable—with many of the birds in this region threatened by cagebird trade and habitat loss, having a more complete picture of bird populations in the region is critically important.


Europe

Iberian Magpie is one of the 400 species reported from Europe on October Big Day. Photo by Yeray Seminario/Macaulay Library.

October brings significant autumn migration to Europe, and the 36 countries that took part in October Big Day capitalized on this opportunity to find some migrant birds! Spain noted a very nice 267 species, and a Spanish duo topped the list of teams, with 108 species reported by Ángel Luis Méndez de la Torre and Antonio Méndez Lorenzo. On their heels were the Irish duo of Niall Keogh and Ian O’Connor, with Erik van Winden representing the Netherlands—all three eBirders counted 98 species. Portugal (210), the UK (184), France (160), and Sweden (158) all came in over 150. Elliot Montieth had the biggest total in the UK, with 69 species on 6 October. See all 400 European species here.


Australia & New Zealand

In Australia, even the marshbirds came out to join October Big Day. Australian Crake by Malcolm Graham/Macaulay Library.

Australia and New Zealand’s wonderfully diverse and unique birds make good turnout here essential to the event’s success. The work by the teams at eBird Australia and New Zealand eBird never fail to make sure that the region is well represented. Five hundreda and fourteen species from Australia is the best showing for the island continent in an eBird Big Day—congrats to the 435 birders who made it happen! New Zealand covered many of their rare and endemic birds, including two species of kiwi. For single-team tallies, the dynamic duo of David Tytherleigh and Craig Morley found 136 species in Victoria, Australia, joined by 11 other birders that went over the 100 mark for the day.


And just like that, the first October Big Day is done! A huge thanks to the more than 17,000 people who contributed. eBird wouldn’t be possible without you. The most exciting part is that it doesn’t end here—at eBird, every day is a big day. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should bird 24 hours a day and never sleep, only that eBirding gives you that same birding fun and community—every day of the year. If you’re new to eBird and want to know how to continue, check out our eBird Essentials course—everything you need to know how eBird can help you best: Explore eBird Essentials.

We can’t wait to see what you continue to find—and share. Stay tuned for news about the next Global Big Day this coming May. Mark the first couple Saturdays on your calendar (May 4 & 11), just in case. Have fun, and we’ll see you out there.

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