Here in Golden we are blessed to live next to the Columbia River Wetlands, a key resting stop for thousands of migratory birds. This May 9th, Wildsight Golden would like you to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day with us by participating in Global Big Day. This is the day where people all around the world go out bird watching and enter their sightings on eBird. By participating in this event you are not only having fun getting outside to enjoy nature, you are contributing to the largest biodiversity related citizens science project in the world!
All you need to do is get outside and look for birds on May 9th. Have a pen and paper handy – or your phone – to record what species you saw, how many, and the location. Mornings or evenings are best. Ideally you will then enter this information on eBird, but if you don’t want to, just send this information to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also post your sightings on our Wildsight Golden Facebook page along with a picture or two. Everyone who sends us their bird sightings will be entered in a draw to win a really nice swallow nesting box built by Lawrie Nichol (thank you Lawrie!).
If you haven’t already, go online and set up an account at eBird.org. This is very easy and the privacy settings are good. eBird gathers bird sighting information from around the world, documenting bird distribution, abundance, habitat use and trends. If you participated in Wildsight’s Columbia Wetlands Waterbird Survey over the past 5 years, you may be familiar with eBird and have already made important contributions to bird conservation, so thank you. And of course, thank you to Rachel Darvill for this inspired project!
Here in Golden we have had a few very capable birders in our community, the late Ellen Zimmerman for one, so the information available on eBird for species you are likely to find at many locations around Golden is very accurate. After you set up your eBird account, try the “Explore” option and visit some local “Hot Spots”. These are the best places to go and find birds. You can download species lists from eBird for these sites. This is really helpful when you are trying to identify many birds that are hard to see. Here is a link to the species list for Reflection Lake.
Local hot spots around Golden include Reflection Lake, Holmes Deakin Road, Moberly Marsh and several places along the Columbia Wetlands from Hwy 95.
If you don’t have a good bird identification book, no problem! There are a few good apps for bird ID that have the added bonus of recorded bird songs. Many small birds are easier to identify by song than sight. Merlin Bird ID is free, but we like the Sibley’s and iBird apps and find them easy to use. Unfortunately we are unable to lend Wildsight’s bird guides, binoculars and spotting scopes at this time.
Haven’t you always wanted to say you participated in Global Big Day? If so, get out there on May 9th and bird watch for 10 minutes or a few hours. Have fun!