Vermont Backyard Bird Quest 2020 Breaks Birding Record

May 23rd dawned a bit on the chilly side, but that didn’t deter bird watchers across Vermont from heading outdoors during the height of spring migration to participate in a one-day birding marathon: Backyard Bird Quest 2020. This community-centered event brought more than 300 Vermont birders together (virtually) in a single day to watching birds and share what they saw with Vermont eBird and the world. Together, we set a Vermont record for the most bird checklists reported on a single day of birding—724 checklists—several hundred more than the previous daily record! Vermont eBirders also identified a truly impressive 178 species (including the states first King Rail!), adding invaluable data to the Vermont eBird database for science, conservation and education.

Backyard Bird Quest 2020 was different from past Big Days. Instead of teaming up with friends, scouting birding spots, and planning big day routes, many people birded individually and close to home. It reminded us just how important the birds in our backyards and local patches are to all of us.

Backyard Bird Quest 2020 by the Numbers

Backyard Bird Quest 2020 was also an important fundraiser for us here at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. It was a chance for our team to complete our annual birdathon. Everyone from our business manager to seasoned ornithologists plied their local environs from pre-dawn to post-dusk in search of Vermont’s avian species. We’re pleased to report that VCE staff’s hard work paid off (literally and figuratively), as we collectively identified a total of 134 species (and one hybrid)! It’s never too late to support our staff team!

Thank you to everyone that was out enjoying birds and helping gather data for science and conservation on May 23rd. Together, you all make Vermont eBird a special, virtual place. 2020 marks the 17th year for Vermont eBird, the first state or provincial portal ever created for eBird. Bird watchers have shared an astounding number of checklists, making Vermont eBird (a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life) the largest citizen science biodiversity project in the state. More than 9,300 Vermont eBirders have submitted over 408,300 complete checklists, representing all 387 species of birds ever reported from Vermont.  It isn’t just about Vermont. There are now more than 575,000 eBirders worldwide who have contributed sightings from out their windows, on their way to work, or at visits to parks, ponds, and fields. eBirders have collected almost 45 million checklists , continuing to make eBird the world’s largest biodiversity-related citizen science project.

At Vermont eBird, every day can be a big day and a reason to step outside even for just 10 minutes to enjoy the birds around you while sharing your observations for science and conservation. Your observations help build an unparalleled window into the full annual cycle of bird populations that will help us better understand and prevent avian population declines. Together we can help better understand, conserve, and enjoy birds for many years to come. Thank you for being a part of it. Enjoy the rest of spring and summer bird watching!