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Global Bird Weekend returns in 2021! The first Global Bird Weekend event was in October 2020 and more than 38,000 birdwatchers around the world took part. It was dubbed ‘The Biggest Birdwatching Event in History’ as well as being one of the greatest citizen science projects ever undertaken.

Now Global Bird Weekend is back for 2021 and the organisers are hoping for even greater success – more birds recorded and many more people engaged in appreciating the wonders of nature and committing to care for it. If you want to gather friends, family, work colleagues and fellow birders together to take part you can find everything you need to register for the event at the Global Birding website.

World records were set for the number of bird species seen in just one day, as well as how many were recorded over the whole weekend. As well as that, a colossal number of birders took part. Therefore, the targets for this year are established so all everyone has to do is enlist a few more people to join the fun and see a few more birds!

What Happens During Global Bird Weekend 2021?

The three days of the Global Bird Weekend are each dedicated to promoting the natural environment in different ways. Blue Sky Wildlife is fielding a team over the weekend, made up of our client wildlife tour operators from across the world. We are hoping our combined efforts will add significantly to the overall tally. For anyone planning their 2022 wildlife vacation, you might encounter many of our team members doing what they do best, locally guiding nature-based holidays in global wildlife hotspots. Have a look for them on blueskywildlife.com.

Yellow-scarfed Tanager

Photo Credit: Yellow-scarfed Tanager, Manu Birding Lodge

So, these are the focusses on the days of Global Bird Weekend 2021:

Friday 8 October

This is a day for encouraging as many young people as possible, no matter where they are in the world, to get involved with nature and the native habitats in and around where they live. Schools, colleges, universities and youth groups will hopefully share learning about their local birds.

Swarovski Optik will be transmitting another amazing Birds Live on Location from incredible sites across the globe.

Saturday 9 October

This is the day to GO OUT BIRDING! Along the way you need to log your sightings on eBird, the bird recording website managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the US, so don’t forget to register with them. eBird is the place where all the world’s sightings will be uploaded and visible in real time on the app.

New to eBird? Get started here https://support.ebird.org/en/support/solutions/articles/48001158707-get-started-with-ebird

Once you are registered, you can submit your photographs and audio recordings to eBird as well.  If you are unsure about how to do this, please check this link https://ebird.org/news/a-new-way-to-upload-and-tag-photos-and-sounds

Sharing images and videos to eBird and social media will provide a visual record of the event for everyone to enjoy.

Sunday 10 October

On this day the aim is to introduce someone new to the wonders of nature in your local area. Share your passion for birds and their environment and welcome a friend to the Global Birding family.

How the 2020 World Records were set

The many birdwatchers taking part over the 2020 weekend came from 169 countries and from every continent. Together, on the Saturday of the event, they recorded over 7,000 bird species on ebird.org.

This far exceeded the previous world record of 7,060 species seen in a single day in May 2018. Then, when Sunday’s sightings were added, the birdwatchers smashed their own so recently set record by clocking up 7,276 species!

On the Saturday 32,282 birdwatchers took part and on the Sunday the number was 30,954. From every continent – North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australasia and Antarctica – birds seen were filed on ebird.org. Participants could see the stats racking up in real time on the Global Bird Weekend‘s social media channels.

global birding event

Visuals were also uploaded to ebird.org and the Macauley Library, part of Cornell University in the US. Altogether, 50,383 photographs of birds were submitted and 1,101 audio recordings.

Global Bird Weekend is the brainchild of Tim Appleton MBE, the co-founder of the UK’s hugely successful annual Birdfair. In early 2016 he also helped launch the Blue Sky Wildlife business, as part of the team.

His motives before the 2020 Global Bird Weekend had taken place were simple: “While we have all suffered in some way as a result of the horrendous coronavirus pandemic, at least one good story should come out of it,” he said. This proved to be the case, and as the vaccine distribution rolls out and we gradually get back to normal living, the conservation story must continue.

Global Bird Weekend 2021’s Contribution to Science

The contribution the weekend will bring to science is a welcome bonus. Global Bird Weekend has already produced significant scientific data and inspired new networks of communication, and this year’s event is sure to build on that.

As part of their commitment to taking part participants are also asked to buy into the Global Bird Weekend 2021‘s particular conservation focus of contributing to BirdLife International’s campaign Conserve Coastal Wetlands, Save Threatened Migratory Birds. This will provide much-needed funds to help the charity’s work on the ground to conserve these crucially important areas around the world that shelter and give resting stops on birds’ migrations.

Eurasian DipperPhoto Credit: Eurasian Dipper, Ruth Miller, Birdwatching Trips

Partners in Conservation

In 2021 the Global Bird Weekend conservation cause is BirdLife International’s appeal to Conserve Coastal Wetlands, Save Threatened Migratory Birds across the Globe. Those registering to take part are encouraged to make a donation – be it large or small – to help protect these important global resting spots and all contributions are welcome and will be put to good use.

  • £15 ($20) could pay for a warden for one day to ensure that roosting birds are not disturbed during high tides
  • £25 ($34) could pay for one day of water bird monitoring
  • £50 ($68) could go towards the compiling of scientific data to inform decision makers on the value of a coastal wetland
  • £100 ($135) could pay for the training of a local conservation group to participate in the development of a coastal wetland management plan
  • £250 ($338) could cover the cost of a local event to seek public support
  • £500 ($677) could provide a grant for a student to identify site conservation actions for threatened shorebirds

Wonderful WadersPhoto Credit: Waders, Ruth Miller, Birdwatching Trips

Year-round Global Birding

The official website of the Global Bird Weekend is there year-round to encourage people all over the world to spend time watching, recording and photographing their local birdlife, which can then be posted on social media, uniting everyone in the pleasure of watching birds.

Commercial companies as well as NGOs, smaller, independent companies and, of course, Blue Sky Wildlife are lending their support this year by registering global birding teams to record their sightings and raise money for Birdlife International. You can see a list of them here.

After the success of 2020 there was no doubt Global Bird Weekend would continue to inspire birdwatchers everywhere well into the future. Now, in 2021, you can join the party!

Follow-ups from this year’s event will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and you can email the organisers at info@globalbirding.org

Global Birding logo

Original Date of Publish: 4th October 2021

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