Join the Vermont Backyard Bird Quest—23 May 2020

By Kent McFarland May 19, 2020
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On May 23rd, spring migration will be at its peak in Vermont. Join us on Vermont’s biggest birding day – the Vermont Backyard Bird Quest 2020. And help us celebrate and document all the spring birds across the Green Mountain State.

Although birding—and life in general—has changed for all of us in recent months, spring’s arrival and the return of migrant birds continue on pace. With recent passage of most waterfowl through Vermont, we birders now eagerly await the flood of songbirds that is just beginning to gather momentum. Spring migration is an exhilarating phenomenon, which now brings welcome comfort and rejuvenation to us all during these disconcerting times.

The Vermont Backyard Bird Quest is modeling this one-day effort at recording all of Vermont’s birds after traditional “Big Sits” (24 hours of birding within a 17-foot diameter circle) and “patch birding.” We are asking people to bird individually (or with their families) on May 23, either from a single spot or by thoroughly exploring a defined “patch” around or near their home.

Participating is easy. Wherever you are in Vermont, you can be a part of the Vermont eBird community on May 23rd. Please remember to always put safety first and follow all local safety guidelines and closures. You can even enjoy birds from inside your home and still be part of the Vermont Backyard Bird Quest.

If you can spare at least 5 or 10 minutes, report your observations to Vermont eBird online or with the free eBird Mobile app. If you have more time, submit checklists of birds throughout the day at different times. You never know what you might spot. Your observations help us better understand Vermont bird populations through products like these amazing animated abundance maps brought to you by eBird Science using data collected by bird watchers like you!

How many checklists can we collect as a Vermont eBird team in one day? During the 2016 May big day, Vermont eBirders recorded 480 checklists comprising 181 bird species!  Will you join us on May 23rd and make the Vermont Backyard Bird Quest 2020 the year that we surpass 500 bird checklists, in one day, scattered across Vermont? Maybe we can top 190 species in one day, too? Help us set a new Vermont eBird record and help collect data for science and conservation at the same time!

 

How to participate

  • If you don’t already have one, get a Vermont eBird account: Vermont eBird is part of a worldwide bird checklist program used by thousands of Vermont bird watchers. It’s what allows us to compile everyone’s sightings into a single massive 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 May 23: 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. The Vermont Backyard Bird Quest runs from midnight to midnight. You can report what you find from anywhere in Vermont (or beyond, really).
  • Enter what you see and hear in Vermont eBird: You can enter your sightings via our website or download the free eBird Mobile appwhich 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. 
  • Watch the sightings roll in: During the day, follow along with sightings from all over the state in real-time on our live updates page.

Vermont Backyard Bird Quest Pro Tips

VCE Green Mountain Goatsuckers birding from the newly-constructed Moose Bog boardwalk, Ferdinand, VT last year. This year we’ll be birding physically apart, but spiritually and virtually (via Vermont eBird) together. Join us!

During the Vermont Backyard Bird Quest, we have a unique opportunity to celebrate and help protect the things we hold dear. That’s why this year, VCE’s birding team, the Green Mountain Goatsuckers, will include all members of our staff for a special 24-hour marathon of socially-distanced birding. We need your help. Each of us will be scouring our backyards and favorite local patches to find over 150 bird species and raise funds for VCE’s conservation and science projects.

Your pledge to our team gives birds another chance to return to our feeders, our skies, and our lives. Please make your mission-critical gift now to help our wildlife projects today! And no matter what you do, have fun, enjoy the birds you find, stay safe, and share your sightings on Vermont eBird. Because in our world, every bird counts.

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