It’s that time of year again—spring migration! And that means birders from around the globe will be gathering for Global Big Day, happening on May 8th, 2021. This year, BirdsCaribbean is excited to be hosting another fundraiser that harnesses the energy, excitement, and comradery of Global Big Day (GBD), and uses the money to further conservation work in the Caribbean!
Last year’s GBD, at the peak of our pandemic lockdown, was a welcome respite from isolation as we connected with each other through birding. We want to do it again this year and make it even bigger and better! Read on for more details!
What is Global Big Day (GBD)?
Twice a year, during peak migration times (once in spring and once in fall) birders gather (often in teams) and travel around an area trying to observe as many bird species as they can in a 24-hr period of time.
BirdsCaribbean virtual teams will bird “together” and engage in friendly competition to (1) raise the most funds, and (2) collectively see the most species of birds on Global Big Day.
This year we’re excited to announce all the money raised from participating BirdsCaribbean GBD teams will benefit BirdsCaribbean’s exciting new Caribbean Motus Collaboration! And new this year, all funds raised by Caribbean island teams will go directly to fund Motus stations in their countries.
Because of continued safety concerns with COVID-19, many of us will be birding again individually, and from a safe place*.
Get Involved By
- Clicking the JOIN button on the campaign page. You can choose to join an existing team OR create your own team.
If you choose to create a team, personalize it with a fun name, photos and your own lingo. NOTE: if you are outside the US or Canada, we will need to assist you with the first step of creating your own team; after this you will be able to manage the team (email Lisa.Sorenson@BirdsCaribbean.org and she will get you set up pronto!)
All team leaders and members should then invite family, friends, colleagues, and members of your birding community to join your team and/or donate to your team. It helps to set your own personal fundraising goal to help your team reach it’s overall goal!
By inviting people to your team, you are (1) raising awareness for BirdsCaribbean and the Caribbean Motus Collaboration, (2) helping to raise funds for Caribbean Motus, and (3) promoting Global Big Day, citizen science, and the importance of conserving birds and their habitats.
and/or . . .
- Simply making a donation to one of the birding and fundraising teams.
By doing so, you will have (1) helped advance knowledge and conservation through supporting Caribbean Motus Collaboration, and (2) encouraged that team to bird as hard as they can on Global Big Day.
and/or . . .
- Committing to spending some time (or the entire day!) birding on Global Big Day (May 8), being sure to keep track of what you see and then entering that information into eBird. We hope everyone will do this, whether or not they join a team or fundraise.
This will be a fun event to fundraise for and get excited about birds! Be ready to visit birding hotspots or set yourself up in a safe place* and bird for as much of the day as possible, knowing that all of your teammates, friends, and BirdsCaribbean community members are doing the same!
Why This is Important
The insular Caribbean is a critical region for birds. There are 171 species that occur here and nowhere else in the world! In addition, the islands provide essential habitat for over 100 migratory birds. Many stay 6 months or longer while others rely on the islands as stopover sites to rest and refuel during their long journeys.
As vital as the region is for birds, we still lack basic information on many species. In addition, Caribbean birds face a whole range of threats, including habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution, invasive species, and climate change.
We plan to address these issues by identifying the most critical sites and habitats for our birds. We will use an exciting new monitoring tool: the Motus Wildlife Tracking System. Motus, Latin for movement, is a powerful collaborative research network that uses automated radio telemetry to monitor the movements of small animals. The system consists of hundreds of receiver stations and tens of thousands of deployed bird tags.
Motus is also a great tool for engaging the public and youth in science and conservation – we plan to involve local communities and schools in our efforts!
Data from the Motus network has already expanded our understanding of bird migration. The Motus network is widely established in Canada and the US, and beginning to spread throughout Central and South America. Currently, however, there are no active receiver stations in the Caribbean, and many species of conservation concern have not yet been tagged. We want to fill this critical geographical gap!
Our plan is to raise funds for Motus stations and work with our partners to install them in priority areas throughout the islands. We need your help to do this!
How Your Gift will be Used
This Global Big Day fundraiser will benefit the Caribbean Motus Collaboration.
We need to raise funds to install and maintain Motus receiver stations in strategic locations throughout the islands. The components of stations cost approximately ~$4,800, and the total cost of a station (including shipping, installation, maintenance, etc.) is ~$10K.
Keep in mind that each station is able to detect thousands of tagged birds flying by, every second of the year, and that the more stations we install, the more detailed information we learn about critically important migration flyways and stopover sites throughout the Caribbean.
We also need to deploy nanotags on priority bird species in the islands to track their movements. Each tag costs ~$225.
Any amount that we can raise is helpful! This is a highly tangible way to get involved in the conservation of Caribbean species.
As with everything in the Caribbean we will be successful when our whole community pitches in, so let’s do this together. We know we can count on you to help!
About Global Big Day
Global Big Day is organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Last year, more than 50,000 people across 175 countries collectively reported an astounding 120,000 eBird checklists. Learn more here about this citizen scientist initiative.
Prizes will be Awarded to
(1) the team that raises the most funds
(2) the team with the most creative name and stylish fundraising page
(3) the team that sees the most bird species on Global Big Day
(4) the “country/island team” that sees the highest proportion of their birds on Global Big Day (to control for differences in the number of species on each island!)
(5) the team with the best “find” of the day (unusual, rare, plumage aberration, etc.)
(6) the team with the best bird photo of the day (must be posted on eBird along with your list)
And others, TBD! Remember that all funds raised by island/country teams will go to support Motus in that country!
While COVID is decreasing in some islands and more and more people are getting vaccinated, it’s still important to be cautious. Be sure to choose birding locations that (1) comply with your municipality’s COVID-19 safety guidelines (i.e. social distancing, wearing a mask, and travel guidelines), and (2) comply with your personal safety preferences. And so whether you will be birding at local parks, reserves, wetlands, beaches, neighborhood or backyard, we will all be enjoying the opportunity to distract ourselves with some safe, fun birdwatching. Additionally, we will all be birdwatching “together” for a great cause that unites us!
Thanks in advance for participating and supporting our fundraiser, however you can! We hope to see lots of teams forming throughout the Caribbean, US, Canada ,and beyond! We will keep you updated with more news and details about our Global Big Day, such as how to keep a count of your birds and enter your data on line – stay tuned!