On 6 October, more than 17,000 birders around the world went birding together for the first October Big Day. Reporting from 146 countries, they tallied 6,136 species of birds: more than half of the world’s birds in a single day. eBirders added 21,149 pictures to their lists, photographing 2,356 species in these 24 hours. This is a new height for a single day of October birding.
As we watch sightings roll in for these Big Day events, the amazing power of the global birding community is so humbling—uniting people across every boundary in our shared passion for birds. This passion allows us to collect unprecedented information on where and when birds occur around the world, and to transform that information into science and research products that can help with bird conservation worldwide. October Big Day alone collected 725,000 bird observations towards these goals.
Below we’ve included some of our favorite highlights from around the world on 6 October.
United States & Canada
A bit of rain on October Big Day throughout parts of the US and Canada couldn’t keep birders inside! The final US tally was 677, made possible by great totals from states like California (352), Texas (342), and Arizona (265). US eBirders also documented 537 species (79% of all birds observed!) with photographs in their eBird checklists, and 84 with audio—quite impressive!
Canadian birding teams found 324 species, with the highest single-person total of 141 species from David Bell in British Columbia. Ontario, Quebec, and British Colombia were neck-and-neck for species, with 203, 196, 193 respectively. Canadian eBirders logged 3,638 checklists on the day, for #2 globally.
Mexico & Central America
More than 600 ebirders in Central America searched for birds in the midst of autumn migration, notching a very nice 924 species for the region. Costa Rica and Mexico vied for #1, with Costa Rica’s 653 species coming in *just* ahead of Mexico’s 645. Guatemala’s 501 and Belize’s 402 species were also quite impressive. Sixteen different birders saw more than 200 species in the single day, and the region’s incredible biodiversity was critical in the global tally for October Big Day.
From the highest reaches of the Andes to the depths of the Amazon rainforest, nowhere in the world compares to South America’s bird diversity. This is truly the bird continent. On 6 October, this was readily apparent: 40% of October Big Day’s species came from this region.
For those who have followed and participated in past Global Big Days, it’ll come as no surprise to you that the top three countries in the world for species were Colombia, Brazil, and Peru. The exciting news for this October Big Day is that Bolivia and Argentina really took this as a chance to shine in their springtime—taking 4th and 6th globally with 854 and 764 species. Will Bolivia join the 1,000 club on the next Global Big Day? Argentina also reported an amazing 1,660 checklists, third only behind the US and Canada.
There is always so much to talk about in South America that it is impossible to do it justice. There are many more exciting local stories of triumph, collaboration, and discovery, and we thank all of you for sharing them with us.
Africa is one of those bird-rich places that is essential for global species coverage on eBird Big Days, yet with tough access and few local birders finding species can be a challenge. Have no fear, eBirders covered the continent from Algeria to Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau to South Africa. One hundred twenty-seven birders from 22 countries joined in the effort, finding 953 species on 6 October. South Africa (405), Kenya (337), and Uganda (279) topped the charts for species, and Morocco reported nearly 15% of all of the checklists from the continent.
October brings significant autumn migration to Europe, and the 36 countries that took part in October Big Day capitalized on this opportunity to find some migrant birds! Spain noted a very nice 267 species, and a Spanish duo topped the list of teams, with 108 species reported by Ángel Luis Méndez de la Torre and Antonio Méndez Lorenzo. On their heels were the Irish duo of Niall Keogh and Ian O’Connor, with Erik van Winden representing the Netherlands—all three eBirders counted 98 species. Portugal (210), the UK (184), France (160), and Sweden (158) all came in over 150. Elliot Montieth had the biggest total in the UK, with 69 species on 6 October.