Birders had their binoculars and checklists ready on May 13 for the annual Global Big Day, and I was one of them. Armed with my eBird phone app, which allows me to record when and where I see specific avian species, I submitted three checklists with a total of 20 species along the Florida Panhandle. Shorebirds, seabirds and a few pigeons all made my list: a snapshot of Florida’s coastal species.
eBird is one of the most successful citizen science projects, compiling millions of observations from countries across the world and providing the data to scientists, land managers, and birders for research and management. Their Global Big Day aims to get as many birders as possible out in the field within a single time period. Over Mother's Day weekend nearly 20,000 participants submitted over 50,000 checklists, covering 6,564 avian species. Colombia birders saw the most species — an impressive 1,486 were recorded.
Participants in eBird’s initiatives provide critical data on bird range migration, as climate change forces certain species to move from their traditional home ranges to seek optimal conditions. Staff at eBird wrote about what the event means to them: “For us, Global Big Day is a celebration of birds. By bringing people together, Global Big Day showcases the great birds from each region — helping bring awareness to birding and conservation, regionally and globally.”
For more information on eBird and how to get involved, click here.