Global Big Day

Word bird map artwork by Team Redhead member Luke Seitz, a Bartels Science Illustration Intern at the Cornell Lab.

Team Sapsucker, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s competitive birding team, has participated in the World Series of Birding for quite some time. We’ve even had a couple of the Lab’s student participants, Team Redhead, as contributors to the blog. Over the last several years, Team Sapsucker has been breaking or coming very close to the US record for a Big Day — the most bird species seen or heard in 24 hours — but this year, ten days from now in fact, the team will be in Panama instead of staying in the southwestern US! Here’s what Chris Wood, captain of Team Sapsucker and eBird’s project leader, has to say:

The time of year has come when migratory birds cross continents and even hemispheres to return home to their nesting grounds. Because long-distance migrants face many hazards during their journeys, Team Sapsucker, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s top birding team, has chosen to spend 24 hours of non-stop birding in Panama, a region critical to the travels of migratory birds in the Western Hemisphere.


Big Day is the Cornell Lab’s biggest conservation fundraiser of the year, as we focus attention on the conservation concerns birds encounter. It’s also a celebration of the diversity of birds as Team Sapsucker birds along a route to find as many species as possible in one day.

This year’s Big Day raises the bar for what we can do for birds. For our first Global Big Day, we’re sending Team Sapsucker outside of the United States, and inviting you to join us on May 9 by adding your checklist to the team’s list of species found. Our goal is to raise $500,000 for conservation and, with help from bird watchers everywhere, collectively tally 4,000 species—40 percent of the world’s bird species—on eBird.org in 24 hours.

To learn more about regional events that you can participate in on May 9th for the Global Big Day, visit eBird’s page here. Ten days from now, we hope you’re out there looking for birds and submitting your own data on eBird to surpass last year’s total of 14,988 checklists!

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