Mark your calendars—six weeks from this Saturday, 14 May, is Global Big Day! For those of us living in more northern climes, the mid-May height of spring still seems a ways off, with tantalizing early migrants just starting to hint at things to come. Our goal with this article is to help with your local Global Big Day preparations—ensuring that you’ll be able to get the most out of eBird and the GBD in your local area and community. After reading this, you should know how to find birds around you using eBird, how to get your friends and fellow birders excited about participating, and how to make sure that eBird is being as helpful as possible for you.
On 14 May, birders from across the world will unite to answer a single question: how many birds can we find as a global team? This happened last year for the first time on the inaugural Global Big Day, when collectively we recorded more than 6,000 species. We are confident we can set a new global record this year, but we need your help! The success of Global Big Day is is in your hands, and eBird will provide the tools for you to take part. If you’re still unsure how to help, you can learn how to participate here.
How can eBird help you find birds?
So, you have only two hours to get out and see what you can find around your home. Maybe you don’t have a car, reducing your range even further. In order to maximize the birds you get to see between life’s other obligations, here are some ideas on how to find out about birds near you, or at any location in the world: Finding Birds at a Location. With global maps featuring 300 million bird observations, thousands of birding ‘hotspots’, and more—your birding planning process will never be the same.
Now that you know how to find birds near you, how do you find a particular bird? Maybe you made a deal with a friend that you’d find the Peregrine Falcon if they found the Merlin, but now you realize you don’t actually know where to find a Peregrine. We’ve got you covered—learn how to find out about a bird.
Between those two articles, you should be all set to find birds around you on Global Big Day. If you want to know more about birds that are rare for the region, or that you “need” for a specific county/state/province/country list, you can check out eBird Alerts, or the Target Species tool. Both of those are great for planning trips or a targeted birding outing!
How eBird can help you or your group/organization collect information on birds
Most of us in the birding community are interested in keeping track of the birds we see—if you’re reading this, you probably don’t need us to explain why. Here at eBird, our goal is to provide tools for personal bird listing, while working towards the end goal of having your observations support research applications and conservation outcomes. If you’re an individual out birding, someone representing a conservation organization, or anything in between—we want to make sure that we can help you with your goals!
For keeping track of your birds in the field, we really enjoy using eBird Mobile. More than 50,000 eBirders are currently using eBird Mobile in 168 countries. eBird Mobile is offered in 20 languages in Android and 10 in iOS—with more coming soon! You can use the app to log sightings anywhere in the world, even when you don’t have service—logging the sightings in the field and submitting them later when you have internet access.
Organizing Global Big Day near you
You don’t really have to ‘organize’ much if you don’t want to—just let others know where to look for GBD info! A great starting point is the main Global Big Day page. This has a good overview for all you’d want to know about GBD, plus links out to other resources. The Facebook event is pretty popular too. If you have some friends that you think might be interested in this, drop them a line and perhaps challenge them to a friendly local competition. Is your local birding spot better than theirs? If you belong to a birding email list or Facebook group, let others know by sharing information about GBD—whether that is our resources; links to GBD HQ; or by sharing the Facebook event. Even if you get one more person involved, you’ve made a difference, and a great contribution to this effort!
If you want to take it to another level, you can also check out our Promotional Items page, which has pre-made eBird presentations for download, if you want to give an eBird talk for a local group. Or, you can print out our Taking Part in Global Big Day or Sharing GBD with Friends articles and wallpaper your life with them. Whatever works for you! Some people have even written to newspapers and had Global Big Day articles published—including in the national newspaper of Bhutan!
No matter what you do, we hope that you’ll be able to get out and enjoy the birds of your area on 14 May, sharing them with the world through the Global Big Day. Put your park, town, county, state, or country on the map, and be a part of the team! We’ll see you out there.