On the Global Bird Weekend this October, thousands of people all over the globe will once again head outdoors to find birds and share their sightings. As one of the world’s biggest citizen science events, the happening aims to break records, but also to raise awareness and funds for conservation issues supported by BirdLife International. A weekend that will bring together bird enthusiasts worldwide showing that the love of nature unites us all independent of our national, ethnic, racial, or social background.
Anyone can make a team! Clubs, Bird Guides, Young Ornithologists or a group of friends or family. Local or international: Why not make a Flyway team?
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Actually, it all started with two people sitting in a kitchen, sipping tea, looking out at the lush British countryside: In early 2020, Tim Appleton, Founder of Rutland BirdFair, and his partner Penny Robinson were tossing around ideas on how to encourage more people to love wildlife. With lockdowns restricting people’s movement radius, urbanites started to explore their local surrounding. Backyards and parks suddenly attracted more and more visitors and luckily, birds are pretty much always around you. They are in most cases the first touchpoint with wildlife. Once fascinated by birdlife, many want to discover more.
And it was exactly this kind of new audience that Penny and Tim wanted to furhter engage in wildlife observation. As with a better understanding and deeper appreciation of the natural world, conservation issues are no longer “somebody else’s problem”, but become a concern for everyone. The Global Birding initiative has been very successful in attracting newcomers.
One of the reasons is that they built on a strong existing network of birders and ornithological organizations. With the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird app, they found the perfect platform to bring together the efforts of birders around the globe. Plus, the Global Bird Weekend builds on the momentum the Cornell Lab and many others have created with the Global Big Day in May and the October Big Day. Both citizen science events have been growing tremendously during the last years.
So, it did not come as a surprise that the 2020 Global Bird Weekend which included October Big Day (October 17, 2020) managed to break the world record at the time: 7,097 bird species were recorded in a single day, a great achievement considering that there are only about 10,500 bird species in the world. 32,000 people from 168 countries joined the fun and came together for the greater good. They raised almost 30,000 euros in funds for BirdLife International's efforts to stop illegal bird trade.
So, what can we expect from this year’s Global Bird Weekend in October? The main bird counting event will take place on Saturday, October 9. The goal is to record as many species as possible around the globe.
However, activities will start on Friday, October 8, where we want young people to go out and engage with their local wildlife. The aim is to get the birders of the future closer to the birdlife in their immediate surroundings. Thanks to Penny’s tireless efforts to get new people involved into birding, she has been very successful in identifying those groups and countries that rarely participated in bird counts.
Sunday, October 10, will be a sharing day for families , friends and newcomers with special activities in the field, to simply enjoy, sketch, photograph, creative writing and perhaps write poems about the birds we love. Take your dear ones outside, invite friends, and show them around your local park. Enjoy, observe, get closer to wildlife.
Global Birding is a new venture formed by Tim Appleton MBE and his partner Penny Robinson that aims to inspire birdwatchers to come together as a global community and celebrate birds, by participating in birding, birdwatching events, citizen science and conservation.
Tim Appleton is the co-founder of the first and biggest Birdfair in Rutland Water which he ran for 31 years. He reintroduced Ospreys as a breeding bird to England in 1996. Tim has been awarded an MBE as well as the Cadbury medal, both for services to conservation. With a lifelong career in conservation and management, his ethos is to bring people together, inspire them and help global conservation.
He received his first spotting scope as a gift from Gerhard Swarovski decades ago: the AT 80. Today, he gets closer to wildlife with his NL Pure 10x42 binoculars and the ATX 65 spotting scope on a CTH compact tripod head.
Penny has had a lifelong interest in all forms of wildlife, travelling to record and write about her experiences. Her role in Global Birding is vital and has ensured its success by her personal approach to hundreds of contacts, using her skills on all platforms of social media. Her dedication to detail has inspired folks to take part and help raise funds for conservation, but above all, helping to build our