Global Big Day is an annual event organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, in which birdwatchers from around the world come together to document as many bird species as possible in a 24-hour period. This year, Global Big Day will take place on May 13th, and while the event is a fun and exciting way to enjoy the beauty and diversity of birds, it also serves the important purpose of providing a valuable snapshot of bird populations.
A critical tool in these endeavors is the use of citizen science data, such as that collected during Global Big Day through eBird. By harnessing the power of citizen science, we can more accurately track changes in bird populations over time, identify key habitats in need of protection, and engage local communities in conservation efforts. Participating is easy: if you can spare 5 or 10 minutes, report your bird observations to eBird. If you have more time, submit several checklists of birds throughout the day. Your observations help us better understand global bird populations through products like these animated abundance maps generated by the Conservation Science Team at the Lab. Last year, Global Big Day brought birders together virtually from more countries than ever before. More than 51,000 people from 201 countries submitted 132,000 checklists with eBird, setting new world records for a single day of birding.
This year, the Lab is focusing Global Big Day on the Pacific Flyway of the Americas, with emphasis on shorebirds. Each year, more than one billion birds travel along the Pacific Flyway, a major migration route thousands of miles long stretching from Alaska to Patagonia. These birds are facing numerous threats, including habitat loss, pollution, and human disturbance. Many species are also being impacted by climate change, as rising sea levels and changing weather patterns alter their breeding and feeding grounds.
Despite these challenges, there is reason to be optimistic. Global Big Day provides an excellent opportunity to mobilize resources and raise awareness about the need for continued conservation efforts internationally. Through partnerships between local communities, agencies, the private sector, conservation organizations, and scientists, we can work together to protect and restore shorebird habitats along the priority sites of the Pacific Flyway. Please join us in celebrating Global Big Day!