Global Big Day Count (formerly Big May Day Bird Count)

After careful thought and discussion, the Indiana Audubon Society (IAS) has decided to end the annual Big May Day Bird Count, held formally on the second Saturday in May. Over the last 27 years, the count has averaged less than 50% participation of the counties submitting data and individual participation has seen a study decline over the years; averaging over a hundred less counters from the first 14 years to the last 13 years through 2019.

Another key aspect of this decision concerns the data that is collected. With the emergence of eBird, along with its popularity and ease of usage, it became clear that the data collected from our count was serving no long-term purpose. IAS is a strong supporter of citizen science, and the Society has made the decision to put our emphasis on and support the eBird/Cornell Lab Global Big Day. 2019 marked the 5th anniversary of this event, which has occurred on the first Saturday in May the last two years. Over the last five years, Indiana has averaged 23rd in the United States with an average of 224 species seen. We are confident that we can do better and raise our rank and species number seen.

Here is how it will work: Once the official day is published, expected to be May 2, 2020, IAS will encourage all birders in Indiana to count birds that day and submit their checklists via eBird. The Society still hopes that individual counties coordinate their efforts on the count day, and maybe some birders might try to bird in underrepresented counties from year to year. We will no longer compete just within each county, but on a global stage to promote bird conservation and Indiana’s place for amazing birds in migration.  IAS will still create a summary based upon the data; seeing how we compare to other states and ourselves from year to year.

We hope that you understand and accept this change, and we look forward to doing our part in terms of citizen science. Thank you for supporting the Indiana Audubon Society.



Contact Information

Editor – Matt Kalwasinki ([email protected])

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