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Birding From Home with Island Conservation

Island Conservation staff members participate in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Global Big Day on May 9th to encourage birding while social distancing.

Social distancing and shelter-in-place orders have allowed many people the opportunity to rediscover old hobbies or to take-up new ones. For many staff members at Island Conservation, this has meant there is more time for birding right in their own backyards or on walks. For others, it has meant buying bird feeders and beginning to identify the species that surround us every day.

This Saturday, May 9th is the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Global Big Day, an annual event in celebration of birding and the birds found in your own backyard. The Cornell Lab makes participation in this event easy for everyone. If you have the entire day or even just five minutes to spend birding, you can participate. Then report what you saw online or the mobile eBird app. In 2019, birders from 174 countries collected 92,284 checklists on Big Day, and this year the goal is to surpass 100,000!

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The Yellow Warbler is found throughout the Galapagos Islands. This native songbird forages for insects amongst vegetation canopy and on the ground. Credit: Island Conservation

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers lots of resources for birders and beginning birders. Merlin Bird ID helps those new to birding or experienced birders that need a little extra help to begin identifying birds they see by answering just a few simple questions. Join eBird to create observation lists and start a checklist of species you would like to see. The information collected by eBird is used for research to gain insight into global bird populations.

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Two children using binoculars to spot the first bird of the day. Credit: Meghan Kearney/USFWS

This year, many of Island Conservation’s staff members around the world will be participating in Global Big Day as a fun shelter-in-place activity! Whether you are an experienced birder or not, consider setting aside a few minutes on May 9th to observe the species around you and contribute to the largest biodiversity-related citizen science project.

Learn more about Global Big Day.

Featured photo: Volunteer Reina Heinz scouting for seabirds around Hawadax Island. Photo: Rory Stansbury/Island Conservation

About Emily Heber

Emily is a recent graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a BS in Zoology. As a student, she discovered that she had a passion for the conservation of endangered species and their ecosystems. Her background in informal education has allowed her the opportunity to share her passion for animals with others, something she seeks to continue doing while working with the communication team. In her spare time, Emily enjoys exploring the amazing hiking trails found in Santa Cruz and tries to SCUBA dive whenever possible. Emily is excited to join the Island Conservation team and to help share the amazing work that is being done here.

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