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World Migratory Bird Day and Global Big Day on May 8

Global Big Day
Red-eyed Vireo. Photo by Joan Wiitanen

The biannual celebrations of World Migratory Bird Day and Global Big Day will take place this Saturday, May 8. 

World Migratory Bird Day
Art by Sara Wolman.

World Migratory Bird Day’s theme for 2021 is “Sing, Fly, Soar — Like a Bird.” Learn all about WMBD here. 

The awareness-raising event will be quite different due to the pandemic. Many participating organizations will set up a series of education stations that may be hosted without staff present. And virtual programming is planned for this week, leading up to the official date of May 8, all at birddaylive.com. 

The 2021 poster (right) was created by Sara Wolman, an artist and a visual information specialist at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It features an assortment of migratory species, including Turkey Vulture, Sandhill Crane, Yellow Warbler, Green-winged Teal, and Ruby-throated Hummingbird. 

Global Big Day is organized by eBird and globalbirding.org. 

Anyone who can bird for even 10 minutes can take part by submitting your bird observations to eBird online or with the free eBird Mobile app. “If you have more time, submit checklists of birds throughout the day,” says eBird. “You never know what you might spot. Your observations help us better understand global bird populations.”

In October 2020, more than 33,000 birdwatchers around the world took part in Global Bird Weekend, recording 7,125 species in one day, which broke the May 2018 record of 7,060 species. 

Globalbirding.org is again working in association with eBird and Swarovski Optik to support BirdLife International’s Stop Illegal Bird Killing as part of the BirdLife’s “Flight for Survival” campaign.

Participants can bird on their own or they can form teams, even if they’re not all together in one place. Learn more here. 

Jim Lawrence, Global Marketing Manager for BirdLife International says: “We are delighted to be collaborating with eBird, Global Birding and Swarovski Optik again, to promote participation in Global Big Day on May 8th. I hope that birders throughout the world will join us by going out birding, submitting their checklists and supporting our work to tackle the illegal killing of the migratory birds we all hope to see return each spring. If you’d like to donate to help preserve the miracle of migration please do so here.”

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And here are further instructions on how to take part in Global Big Day from eBird.

Pete Dunne’s blueprint for a Big Day

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