If you’ve never participated in a birding event, you’re in for a treat, and it’s not too late to get started. Two are coming up in October—the Global Bird Weekend, October 8–10, and The Big Sit!, October 9–10. They’re free and open to everyone around the world. The Global Bird weekend is a fun but serious citizen science project, while The Big Sit! is purely recreational—and a great chance to hold a fundraiser for your club or organization.
The Global Bird Weekend, October 8–10, 2021
Tim Appleton of Rutland, England, was the beloved face of the British Birdfair for more than 30 years, and his vision, spirit, and energy inspired its success for decades. Because our world has changed due to COVID-19 restrictions, Tim, his partner, Penny, and birding influencers from around the world banded together to begin this new venture.
The Global Bird Weekend is open to everyone in the world, and its purpose and mission are to raise awareness of birds and promote engagement with birders on every continent around the world. It’s also a great opportunity to help raise funds for important conservation projects. Participate from your backyard, your front porch, your local patch, or a nearby hotspot.
• THE GLOBAL BIRD DAY EVENT AIMS TO SET A NEW WORLD RECORD for the largest number of birds seen by the greatest number of people on this peak migration weekend. We achieved this during the 2020 Global Bird Weekend, so let’s see if we can break that record together again.
• WATCH RESULTS REPORTED AROUND THE WORLD. On Sunday, October 10, take your camera, your sketch pad, your digiscoping rig, or your cell phone and share your photos and experiences through social media using these hashtags: #globalbirdweekend and #globalbirding. You also can upload your images to eBird’s dedicated Global Bird Weekend page »
• THE EVENT WILL RAISE FUNDS THROUGH DONATIONS for BirdLife International’s appeal to conserve coastal wetlands and save threatened migratory species. Learn more »
• NEW IN 2021: Sunday, October 10, introduce a friend to the wonderful experience of discovering the birds in your local area! Share your passion for birds and their environment and welcome someone new to the Global Birding family.
The Big Sit!, October 9–10, 2021
Founded by the New Haven (Connecticut) Bird Club, The Big Sit! is a fun bird-watching event open to every person and bird club in the world. You create a real or imaginary circle 17 feet in diameter and sit inside it for 24 hours, counting all the bird species you see or hear. It’s that simple!
• MAKES A GREAT FUNDRAISER! Some local bird clubs organize a Big Sit team and collect pledges for each species they tallied. For example, if 20 club members pledge $0.20 per species and the team tallies 50 species during The Big Sit!, that means the team could generate $200 for a special club project.
• PARTICIPATE IN CITIZEN SCIENCE. Taking time to count as many birds as possible will help catalog the species in your area. If you hold Big Sits every year—or if others have participated in bird counts before—you can compare your findings to those of years past to identify declining or increasing populations. In this way your fun backyard event can contribute to a greater scientific cause: monitoring bird populations and watching out for broader trends.
• IT’S AN EXCUSE TO HOST A PARTY! The Big Sit! has been called a tailgate party for bird watchers. Gathering your closest bird-watching friends together for an all-day (and possibly all-night) bird-a-thon is the perfect excuse to share good stories, cold beverages, and great meals. (Unlike other tailgate parties, elaborate body paint is not expected.)
• SHARE YOUR RESULTS. Birders love good stories and beautiful photographs. Please tell everyone about your circle and your day by posting words or pictures to The Big Sit! Facebook page. Share photographs and drawings of your circle, the birds, the scenery, the snacks. (Photographs of people are especially nice, but please obtain permission from everyone in the photos, particularly from parents of participating children.) The New Haven Bird Club may use your contributions to report on and publicize The Big Sit!
Be Safe and Bird Mindfully!
We recognize that COVID-19 continues to impact our communities. Even if your local conditions have improved, we encourage everyone to put safety first, follow local health guidelines, and bird mindfully. You can bird from home and still participate in the Global Bird Weekend!
So, what are you waiting for? Join one of these exciting global events that support citizen science, birds, nature, connection, and conservation!
About the Author
Here at Bird Watcher's Digest it's our mission to provide fun, friendly, and useful content to enhance your birding life. Our publications include bimonthly magazines Bird Watcher's Digest and Watching Backyard Birds, free newsletters like BirdWire, free podcasts like Out There with the Birds and This Birding Life, and so much more!