COLUMBIA, S.C. — Need an activity for the entire family this Saturday? Consider grabbing some binoculars and a field guide for birds and, weather permitting, head out and count some birds.
Global Big Day is the annual celebration of birds, part of World Migratory Bird Day where bird watchers -- or birders -- wander out to identify and count birds nearby in order to contribute to the worldwide count. It's free to participate, just download the free eBird Mobile app and start counting. Take a five-minute break from errands or spend the afternoon recording your observances and contributing to the global count.
According to ebird.org, last year more than 51,000 people from 192 countries submitted 134,000 checklists on Global Big Day.
Another birding tool that might be of interest to birders is BirdCast. Operated by The Cornell Lab, Colorado State University and UMass Amherst, this site lets you track the number of migratory birds that pass overhead overnight. Type in your location and the migration dashboard can tell you how many birds were in flight, what types of birds were migrating, and where the birds were headed. For instance, as of 6:20 a.m. Friday, May 13, BirdCast migration data recorded an estimated 10,400 birds crossing over Richland County in South Carolina. The peak traffic in the area around 1:50 a.m. consisted of 8,600 birds, flying at a speed of 9 miles per hour, heading northwest at an altitude of 1,300 ft.