Global Big Day—9 May 2020

By Team eBird March 6, 2020

Artwork by Luke Seitz

Last May, more than 35,000 people took to fields and forests around the world, reporting more than two-thirds of the world’s bird species in a single day—Global Big Day. Wherever you are in the world, you can be a part of birding’s next world record!

On 9 May, will you join birders from more than 175 countries and be a part of Global Big Day? You don’t have to commit to birding for 24 hours—an hour or even 10 minutes of watching birds makes you part of the team.

With the spread of COVID-19, please follow recommendations from local health officials and avoid unnecessary travel. Global Big Day is still a fantastic opportunity to connect with birds in your backyard or local reserve. With that in mind, the Cornell Lab’s Team Sapsucker will participate in Global Big Day and remain locally in the Finger Lakes of New York. We hope that Global Big Day provides an opportunity for hope and enjoyment through our shared delight for birds. The current plan is to maintain this event for folks to safely participate when possible–even if that means watching birds from home. Any changes to that status will be announced here.

How to participate

  • Get an eBird account: eBird is a worldwide bird checklist program used by millions of birders. It’s what allows us to compile everyone’s sightings into a single massive Global Big Day list—while at the same time collecting the data to help scientists better understand birds. Sign up here. It’s 100% free from start to finish.
  • Watch birds on 9 May: It’s that simple. You don’t need to be a bird expert or go out all day long, even 10 minutes in your backyard counts. Global Big Day runs from midnight to midnight in your local time zone. You can report birds from anywhere in the world.
  • Enter what you see and hear in eBird: You can enter your sightings via our website or download the free eBird Mobile app, which makes adding what you see even easier. You can enter and submit lists while out birding, and the app tracks how far you’ve walked so you can focus on enjoying the birds. While you’re downloading free apps, try out the Cornell Lab’s Merlin Bird ID app for help with identification. Please enter sightings before 13 May to be included in our initial results announcement.
  • Watch the sightings roll in: During the day, keep an eye on how the lists are growing in different parts of the world. Follow along with sightings from more than 170 countries. Stats will be updated in real-time on our Global Big Day page.

Contributing sightings is easy with the free eBird Mobile app. Download for iOS or Android.

Global Big Day Pro Tips

  • With the spread of COVID-19, please follow recommendations from local health officials and avoid unnecessary travel.
  • If you’re looking for a new place to find birds, explore eBird Hotspots near you.
  • Use Merlin Bird ID for help with tricky species.
  • Get together with friends and set a goal for your birding—most unusual species? biggest flock? all the species in your favorite family? The possibilities are endless.
  • Take photos and add them to your checklist—they might end up on the Global Big Day page!
  • Make your sightings more valuable: submit complete checklistskeep counts of the birds that you see, and keep multiple checklists throughout the course of your birding—if you get in the car, end that checklist and start a new one when you get to the next location.
  • Share what you’re seeing on social media with #globalbigday!

Last year’s Global Big Day set a new record, with 35,157 eBirders joining together on one day. On 9 May, we hope you’ll be a part of birding’s next world record. And no matter what you do, have fun, enjoy the birds you find, and share your sightings on eBird. Because in our world, every bird counts.

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