Lots of birds, lots of lists in Global Big Day 2016

Magenta Petrel chick nearly ready to fledge (Sweetwater Conservation Covenant, Chatham Islands, NZ, Wildlife Management International Ltd., ML 28694761, CL S29626661)

Global Big Day 2016–lots of birds, lots of checklists! The day began with our New Zealand neighbours reporting the first birds of the event in the Chatham Islands at midnight: three Magenta petrel chicks emerged from their burrows, stretching their wings. In Australia, a Bush Stone-curlew was the first bird Chris Wiley saw as he set off on his Global Big Day (GBD) in Queensland where he recorded an Australia GBD record of 155 species, and a Powerful Owl was the last bird noted by Rod Gardner before the GBD drew to a close.

An extraordinary 495 species have been reported in Australia for GBD 2016, with 12 eBirders finding 100 or more Australian species in their efforts for GBD. With checklists still coming in, it is clear that eBirders were dedicated in representing Australia birds in the tally this year, increasing the number of checklists submitted by a remarkable 46% as compared to 2015 (950 in 2016 vs 651 in 2015). Seventy-two eBirders submitted five or more checklists, Craig Morley and David Tytherleigh submitted 27 and 25 lists, respectively.

Weebill while resting in WA, Geoffrey Groom ML 28747871, CL S29633096

Weebill spotted while resting (Geoffrey Groom, Gringer Creek WA, ML 28747871, CL S29633096)

The numbers of species and lists that have been reported worldwide are stunning (more than 5700 species, 36000 checklists, and 13800 eBirders so far), and checklist comments and pictures provided by eBirders help bring the numbers, representing real birds and real people, to life.

We’ll be looking closer at the Global Big Day reports in the days to come, and hope you will, too. Interestingly, although the number of species sighted in Australia are similar for both 2016 (495 species) and 2015 (497 species), not the same species were reported or were missed in both years.  This appears to be a function of both detectability and where eBirders were able to focus their efforts.

Glorious Yellow-Tailed Black-Cockatoo in Tasmania (Scott Linane, ML 28690401, CL S29623126)

Glorious Yellow-Tailed Black-Cockatoos (Scott Linane, Dru Point TAS, ML 28690401, CL S29623126)

We found that 430 species were reported in Australia in both 2016 and 2015; 65 of the species reported in 2016 were not listed in 2015; and 67 of the species reported in 2015 were not listed in 2016. Of all the birds sighted in Australia over the years by eBirders (893 species), 331 species were not listed in either the 2016 or 2015 GBD.

These numbers will differ when the tally is officially complete, but in the meantime, make sure your checklists from 14 May 2016 are submitted soon so the birds you sighted will be included in Global Big Day 2016 counts.