Count Birds for Black Birders Week #BirdsOfAFeather—June 5, 2021

By Danielle Belleny, Black AF in STEM Collective member May 28, 2021

The 2021 #BlackBirdersWeek, brought to you by the Black AF in STEM Collective, will run May 30 to June 5 with live events and activities open to everyone. Join eBird in celebrating #BlackBirdersWeek by participating in #BirdsOfAFeather on June 5, 2021—an event for birdwatchers of all backgrounds to celebrate birds by focusing on species within 15 miles of home.

In 2020, the inaugural #BlackBirdersWeek resonated with thousands of participants worldwide as the week highlighted the happiness Black people find in nature, the racism experienced all too often, and the importance of inclusivity and safety in outdoor recreation. Read a summary of last year’s activities from around the world. The second annual #BlackBirdersWeek will continue to highlight Black nature enthusiasts and increase the visibility of Black birders, who face unique challenges and dangers when engaging in outdoor activities.

Join #BirdsOfAFeather

This year’s #BlackBirdersWeek events include a number of ways for you to join the conversation and celebrate birds with people from around the world. #BirdsOfAFeather encourages all birders to explore the nature nearest to them, submit an eBird checklist, and share their findings on social media using the hashtag #BirdsOfAFeather! The day will also feature live-streamed birding with Black AF in STEM members, in-person bird walks throughout the US, and other events—check out the full schedule here.

We are encouraging everyone worldwide to count the birds around them for at least 5 minutes. In an effort to celebrate the often overlooked diversity closest to us, we are asking participants to bird locally and to limit their travel to within 15 miles of home. Our goal is to receive one checklist from at least 25 countries outside of the United States and all 50 states in the United States within 24 hours.

How to Participate:

  • Count birds for at least 5 minutes on June 5 and submit a checklist of your observations to eBird
  • Stay local! Limit your travel to 15 miles from your home
  • Share a link or screenshot of your checklist on social media with #BirdsOfAFeather and tag @BlackAFinSTEM
  • Fill out the submission form on the BlackAFinSTEM Giveaway page for a chance to win a Bird Academy course discount! One winner will be randomly selected from each of the following categories: first-time eBirders; checklists that include a life bird; and all entrants.
  • Tune in to live events throughout the day

For more information about #BlackBirdersWeek events, visit The Black AF in STEM Collective.

Best Practices for #BirdsOfAFeather

Not sure where to start looking for birds near you? Need a little guidance on how to submit an eBird Checklist and make sure your checklist counts towards our goal? Below, we’ll lay out the best practices for celebrating this worldwide birding event.

Finding an eBird Hotspot

eBird Mobile and eBird.org have everything you need to find the best places for birding nearby and worldwide. eBird hotspots are public birding locations created by eBird users. At a glance, you can see which birding locations have the most species. You can filter to show only the results for a particular month, or for the last 10 years, or sites with visits during the last month. The Hotspot Explorer may even help reveal some hidden gems near you that you never knew about! The Hotspot Explorer can be accessed via eBird’s Explore tab. When you zoom in and reveal the hotspots, you can click on the locations to get a quick pop-up summary of the information from that location. We’re encouraging participants to submit checklists in places that have not been visited within the last 7 days. Show the less visited hotspots some love!

If you know of a spot that isn’t an eBird hotspot but believe it should be, then consider suggesting the location as a hotspot. Hotspots do not have to contain an outstanding number of birds to be considered. eBird hotspots represent a set of public locations that people regularly visit for birding, regardless of how amazing they are for birds. The primary requirement of an eBird hotspot is that it is publicly accessible, so avoid places like your yard or other private property. Please review this article on how to suggest an area as a hotspot.

Submitting a Checklist

eBird Mobile is the fastest way to keep checklists in the field; you can also submit checklists on the eBird website. For a step-by-step guide to submitting your bird observations to eBird, take our free eBird Essentials course.

  • When you go birding with friends, you only need to keep one list for the group. That checklist can be shared with the people you birded with using their eBird usernames or email addresses. On eBird Mobile, increasing the Number of Observers on an unsubmitted checklist to more than 1 will cause a “Share checklist with…” option to appear. Tap it, type the eBird username of a person you’re birding with, and then press the ‘enter’ key. Repeat for each eBird username you’d like to share with. Once you’ve entered the usernames, submit the checklist like normal, and it’ll be shared automatically!
  • Get Merlin Bird ID. Bird identification can be a challenge, especially for beginning birders. You can now demystify birds by using the free Merlin Bird ID app that provides real-time, offline, bird identification. If you have a smartphone with a camera, bird identification has gotten even easier. Merlin Bird ID will identify birds from the pictures you take. If you don’t have any photos, you can Answer 5 questions in Merlin Bird ID and the app will help you identify those mysterious birds. Check out this article for more tips and tricks to use Merlin Bird ID.

Submitting Your Country or State to Our Count

Use the BlackAFinSTEM Giveaway page to submit what state or country you are checking in from. The submission form includes an opt-out section for those who do not want to be considered for the giveaway.

After you have submitted your checklist, tell us how you participated or share a photo that best captured your day on Instagram or Twitter. Be sure to include #BirdsOfAFeather and tag @BlackAFinSTEM in your post. We would love to repost your submissions!

If you don’t have social media, you can email BlackAFinSTEM@gmail.com your stories and photos.

Go the Extra Mile and Share Your eBird Profile!

Completing a checklist is more fun with friends! Find fellow eBird users before the big day by sharing your eBird profile and where you plan to bird on June 5 to your social media accounts with the tag #BirdsOfAFeather. To find a shareable link to your profile go to the “My eBird” tab at the top of the page, then scroll to the “Explore My” header on the left side of the page, then click “Profile”. You will be taken to your profile page and your unique profile link is under your profile photo. While you’re there, personalize your profile if you haven’t had the chance to yet.