ITHACA, N.Y. — More than 30,000 people will take part in a massive effort to set a new world record this Saturday, May 4. The goal: tally the greatest number of bird species ever seen in a single day. This day is Global Big Day—a free Cornell Lab of Ornithology event for anybody who likes birds and being outdoors. Anyone, anywhere can join the fun.
Participants from 171 countries joined last year’s Global Big Day. When the counting was done, bird watchers reported more than 7,000 of the world’s approximately 10,000 known bird species. That’s roughly two-thirds of all bird species, seen in a single day.
A “big day” in the birding world means attempting to identify as many species as possible during a 24-hour period. This is usually just one carload of people, but Global Big Day means everyone is on the same team.
“You don’t need to do a full day of birding—10 minutes, an hour, whatever time you can devote to bird watching on May 4 is great,” says Chris Wood at the Cornell Lab. “Every bird counts.”
Participation is easy, fun, and free. Go to eBird.org to set up a free account (or get the app on iOS or Android). Watch birds on May 4, and then enter your list at eBird. Watch in real-time as sightings from the world’s birders roll in.
Here are some other ways to get the most out of your Global Big Day:
- Use the Merlin Bird ID app to help ID species.
- Explore eBird Hotspots near you.
- Share what you’re seeing on social media with #globalbigday!
“Most of all,” says Wood, “have fun, enjoy the birds you find, and share your sightings on eBird!”
Featured image: Cardinals spotted along the East Ithaca Recreation Way on Jan 1, 2019. (Photo by Kelsey O’Connor/The Ithaca Voice)