As part of the third Global Bird Weekend and in celebration of World Migratory Bird Day, Saturday, May 14 is the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s May Big Day. This global event is an all-day birding bonanza during which birdwatchers around the world will try to tally as many bird species as possible in a 24-hour period.
October Big Day 2021, the first-ever global big day in Saudi Arabia, set a record for the highest number of bird species tallied in a single day. Birders from around the Kingdom recorded a total of 220 species! We need your help to beat last year's record.
So wherever you are on Saturday, May 14, join the Saudi birdwatching community for a day of enjoying the incredibly diverse pageant of color, shape, and sound that is Saudi birdlife and be a part of the global team striving to set a new record for the highest number of bird species recorded in a 24-hour period. You can even report birds from outside your home and still participate in this year’s May Big Day. With hundreds of millions of birds passing through Saudi Arabia every year, even private gardens and local parks can suddenly become alive with birdlife as waves of migrants seek cover and refueling during periods of rest before continuing their winged journey onward.
Here’s how to participate:
Get an eBird account: eBird is a database of bird observations submitted by millions of birdwatchers around the world. By submitting your May Big Day sightings to eBird, you will be adding to the overall big day results—7,269 species's the number to beat—but also contributing data that will help scientists better understand bird distributions and movements among other important areas of inquiry. Sign up for eBird HERE.
Go out birdwatching on Saturday, May 14: Easy-peasy! The May Big Day runs all day from midnight to midnight, and some hardcore birdwatchers will be out searching for birds for most of it. However, you don’t need to be an expert or go out all day long. Even just reporting what you see and hear in your backyard will help.
Report what you see and hear on eBird: You can submit your observations on the eBird website or, even easier, you can download the eBird Mobile app and submit them on the go. The app allows you to create and submit checklists of the birds you’ve encountered while you’re still out birdwatching as well as explore nearby birding hotspots and track how far you’ve traveled so you can just focus on watching birds. You can download the app for iOS or Android. Finding birds and keeping checklists is easy with the free eBird Mobile app. Please submit your checklists in eBird and share them with SaudiBirdingTeam (no spaces) before May 19 to be included in eBird’s initial results announcement.
Watch the action: During the day, keep track of how the lists are growing in different parts of the world. Follow along with reports from more than 160 countries, including those from team Saudi Birding. Stats will be updated in real-time on eBird’s May Big Day page.
May Big Day Pro Tips:
If you’re new to eBird or want to make your checklists from Saudi more valuable for science and conservation, take eBird’s free eBird Essentials course.
Use Cornell Lab’s Merlin Bird ID app to help you identify unfamiliar Saudi bird species by sight or sound, and then use eBird to report them so your sightings are part of the May Big Day totals.
Take photos of the birds you’re seeing and add them to your checklist—they might end up on eBird’s May Big Day page!
Make sound recordings and prepare and upload your recordings to your eBird checklists to help Merlin identify more birds in Saudi Arabia and the wider region by sound.
Make your sightings more valuable by submitting complete checklists, try to keep accurate counts of the birds that you see, and keep multiple checklists throughout the day as you visit different spots.
During the October Big Day 2021, nearly 33,000 participants from around the globe submitted 83,485 checklists containing a total of 7,269 different bird species. Saudi Arabia recorded 220 species, some of which weren't seen in any other country. No matter where you end up birding on May 14, have fun, stay safe, enjoy the birds you find, submit your sightings on eBird, and then be sure to share your checklists with SaudiBirdingTeam. Your observations will help scientists and conservationists better understand Saudi birds and from this valuable data how best to protect and preserve them for the long-term health of Saudi's ecosystems and the enjoyment of future generations of Saudi birdwatchers.
Hope to see you out on Saturday, May 14, for the May Big Day.