Get ready for October Big Day and Global Bird Weekend

The coming weekend promises to be big. Bird watchers from around the world will be in place to count species for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s big October day and the first global bird weekend.

The goal of the Global Bird Weekend is to make October 17-18 the greatest bird watching weekend ever and to support BirdLife International’s call to end the illegal bird trade. One of the goals of Global Bird Weekend is to have more than 25,000 people submit eBird checklists on October 17th. Will you be one of them?

Of course, COVID-19 continues to affect our communities. Therefore, make safety your first, follow local health guidelines, and be careful bird watching. You can bird watch from home and still take part in Big Day in October!

The organizers hope that participants will count up to 6,500 species worldwide – around 60 percent of the planet’s bird species.

How to Participate

  • Get an eBird Account: eBird is a worldwide bird checklist program used by millions of bird watchers. This allows us to put all of the sightings together into a single massive October big day list – while also collecting the data that scientists can use to better understand birds. Sign in here. It’s 100% free.
  • Bird watch on October 17th. As simple as that! The big October day runs from midnight to midnight in your local time zone. You don’t have to be a bird expert or go out all day. You can report birds from anywhere in the world – even helping in your garden for 10 minutes.
  • 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. The app lets you keep and submit lists while still bird watching, exploring nearby hotspots, and even keeping track of how far you’ve gone so you can focus on bird watching. Please submit your eBird checklists before October 21st so that they will be included in the announcement of the first results.
  • Watch the sightings: During the day, watch the lists grow in different parts of the world. Follow reports from more than 150 countries. Statistics are updated in real time on the big day of October page.

The Global Bird Weekend invites bird watchers to form teams or to register individually. No less than 100 teams from around the world are ready to go. Many teams are also raising funds for BirdLife’s campaign to stop the illegal bird trade. Learn more about creating a team or scroll through teams here.

The illegal bird trade is cruel, driving birds to extinction and threatening other pandemics such as COVID-19 due to the transmission of diseases from animals to people in poorly regulated markets, particularly in Asia.

A very socially distant team from BirdWatching will participate. Editor Matt Mendenhall will be birding from Wisconsin while contributing editors Kenn Kaufman, Laura Erickson, and Brian Small will be birding birds in their home states – Ohio, Minnesota, and California. You can support our fundraiser on the JustGiving website to fight the illegal bird trade, and on Saturday you can follow our team’s progress on eBird.

Sunday is all about sharing: bird watchers are encouraged to continue bird watching and share their lists on eBird. Sunday is also the day when you can take your camera, sketchpad, and audio equipment with you and spend the time enjoying the birds with your friends and family. And it’s an ideal opportunity to introduce newbies to bird watching.

Tim Appleton, founder of Global Bird Weekend, says he would prefer bird watchers to stay close to their homes this weekend to minimize potential coronavirus exposure and the participants’ carbon footprint.

“Wherever you are in the world,” says Appleton, “in your yard, your local park or conservation area, on a wetland or by the ocean, deep in a forest or high up in the most remote mountains, birdwatching matters.”

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