October Big Day is Coming!

Are you ready for one of birdwatching’s most popular events?

Posted August 16, 2019

What is Global Big Day?

Global Big Day has been a popular May event for several years, and it is when all the birdwatchers in all the countries around the world all get out and count birds at the same time!  The event is so popular, that for the second consecutive year, there is an autumn event as well, and this year it is scheduled for October 19, 2019.

When all these birders get out and count, staggering numbers of the world’s avian species are found and officially recorded.  Last year’s October Big Day saw 6,331 species counted in a single 24-hour period!

Can the world’s birders beat that this year?

Birds Species Counted on 2018 October Global Big Day

How to participate in October’s Global Big Day:

  • First, get a free eBird account:

    eBird is a worldwide bird checklist program used by millions of birders, allowing a wonderful compilation of every birders’ sightings into a single massive October Big Day list.  At the same time, the collection of data assists scientists with a better understanding of the world’s birds. Sign up here. It’s 100% free.

  • Next, on October 19, 2019, get out and birdwatch!

    It’s that simple. You don’t need to be a bird expert, or go out all day long. If you’re on Bonaire on Big Day, take a drive, stop anywhere and sit and count the birds.  Or, even 10 minutes in your backyard will help. October Big Day runs from midnight to midnight in your local time zone. And if you’re not lucky enough to be on Bonaire, you can report birds from anywhere in the world.

  • Enter what you see and hear on eBird:

    You can enter your sightings via the eBird website or—even easier—download the free eBird Mobile app. You can enter and submit lists while you’re still out birding, and the app will even keep track of how far you’ve walked or driven, so you can focus on watching birds. While you’re downloading free apps, be sure to try out the Cornell Lab’s Merlin Bird ID app for help with bird identification. Merlin is a wonderful tool to help you identify the birds you see on  Big Day.  Simply snap a photo with your cellular phone, upload it to Merlin, and Merlin will tell you which bird it is, or the likely birds it could be.  It doesn’t get any easier than this. Please ensure that you enter and submit your sightings October 23, 2019, so that your data can be included in eBird’s initial results announcement.

  • Watch the sightings roll in:

    During the day, keep an eye on how the lists are growing in Bonaire or whatever part of the world you are in. Follow along with sightings from more than 150 countries. Statistics will be updated in real-time on eBird’s October Big Day page.

Log your Sightings

eBird is the world’s largest biodiversity-related citizen science project, with more than 100 million bird sightings contributed each year by eBirders around the world. A collaborative enterprise with hundreds of partner organizations, thousands of regional experts, and hundreds of thousands of users, eBird is managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Bird Photo ID

Merlin is designed to be a birding coach for beginning and intermediate bird watchers. Merlin asks you the same questions that an expert birder would ask to help solve a mystery bird sighting. Notice that date and location are Merlin’s first and most important questions. It takes years of experience in the field to know what species are expected at a given location and date. Merlin shares this knowledge with you based on more than 200 million sightings submitted to eBird from birders across the United States and Canada.

About the author

Susan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI SCUBA Diving Master Instructor, a certified bird guide, and an underwater and topside photographer.

Susan Davis, the author.

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