On May 9, more than 50,000 bird watchers from across the globe took to the outdoors for the next 24 hours to log in birds on the eBird app. This was an extraordinary turnout given that much of the world was in lockdown.
With millions of birders creating countless bird lists, some tech-savvy birders at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the US thought that if all these lists were put on one platform it would not only transform birding but contribute to science. And hence the creation of eBird, a free online database providing scientists and researchers with real-time data about bird distribution and abundance, which can inform conservation strategies.
The app is available in 30 languages and thanks to contributors around the world, there are more than 810 million observations of birds.
This year’s Global Big Day saw two million records of birds collected. In Africa, Kenya topped with 83 checklists submitted by 60 teams. Worldwide, Kenya scored 11th position, Colombia topped globally with 1,445 species listed from 7,124 checklists submitted, followed by Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, Bolivia and Panama.
"Tourists will surely notice that Kenya must be a brilliant place to go birding,” said Pete Stewart, a veteran birder with Nature Kenya.