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By Miyoko Chu
  • Lab of Ornithology
  • Animals
  • Nature

Birdwatchers participating in Global Big Day, organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, set a world record on May 9 by documenting 2.1 million bird observations.

An all-time high of more than 50,000 participants recorded 6,479 species and submitted more than 120,000 checklists, shattering the previous single-day checklist total for a single day by 30%.

The Global Big Day sightings were submitted to the Lab of Ornithology’s free eBird program, which uses the data to power science, outreach and conservation efforts around the world. The information submitted May 9 on eBird surpassed all the information submitted in the program’s first 2 ½ years, according to eBird coordinator Ian Davies.

During the first two weeks of April, eBird checklist submissions jumped 46% compared with the same period the previous year. Contributions of photo and audio recordings to the Cornell Lab’s Macaulay Library wildlife media archive, and downloads of the lab’s free Merlin Bird ID app, were all up by 50%–100%.

“Contributions from birdwatchers around the world provide a whole new way of seeing biodiversity,” said Steve Kelling, co-director of the Center for Avian Population Studies at the lab. “Your observations help build an unparalleled window into the full annual cycle of bird populations that will help us better understand and prevent avian population declines.”

This article also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

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