How Birding Can Help Conservation Efforts

Folks, I've been working with the folks from Cornell's bird lab for some time now. They do great work and also help me identify all the birds that visit my home office.

Next month they're launching the Global Big Day. For the past 30 years the Cornell Lab's biggest conservation fundraiser of the year has taken place in the spring in the form of "Big Day."

They've got a team of lab staff, called the Sapsuckers, and a student team, called the Redheads, who try to see or hear as many bird species in a 24-hour period as possible. Here's the deal: Donors pledge amounts per bird, as counted by the Sapsuckers.

World bird map (artwork by Team Redhead member Luke Seitz, a Bartels Science Illustration Intern at the Cornell Lab)

Two years ago the Sapsuckers smashed the North American record with 294 species, and they raised around $350,000 around the campaign.

This year, the lab's centennial year, they're inviting everyone around the globe who loves birds to be a part of the team. Their goal is to raise $500,000 for conservation and, with help from birds everywhere, collectively tally 4,000 of the world's 10,300 bird species in a single day. This is the real deal for conservation and birding.

I'm pledging $1,000 to the western tanager, a bird that shows up unannounced at my home office. These guys rarely show, but it's quite a treat when they do.

My team and I would love for you to guess how many western tanagers will be counted on the Global Big Day. Leave your guess in the comments, and we'll post the winning number after May 9.

Global Big Day will be on May 9. The Sapsuckers will be birding in Panama on May 9 and will be posting updates throughout the day on Facebook and Twitter. Can you help? Join in by using hashtag #GlobalBigDay.