Team Cusco

Cusco Birders. in-country Champions. Photo: Nestor Ccacya Baca

Ebird has hit something big. With the successful first Global Big Day the application of  simultaneous count to help understand bird populations on multiple scales has a new meaning.

I am not an avid eBirder and my checklists submitted to eBird don’t add up to a dozen. But the idea of a Global Bid Day sounded like a good excuse to go out birding on May 9th and make my day’s list count. Perhaps that was the case for many going out birding on May 9th.

What started as a reason to go out birding quickly developed into something fun to do as a nation. I am referring to the sequence of events prior to May 9th, where CORBIDI, a small NGO in the country of Peru launched an effort to recruit birders from every corner of the country. A total of 122 teams covering just about every major habitat counted a total of 1183 species or approximately 65% of the entire avifauna of Peru in a single day! This places Peru as a Global Big Day Champion for the year of 2015!!!


Final count by country. (Extracted from

I believe the sense of contribution to an importance cause prompted people to join the Global Big Day count. The onset of the competitive spirit came the evening of May 9th as many watched the number of species per country switching places between Colombia, Brazil and Peru. Within Peru, the Department of Cusco led the competition with the greatest number of species observed.


Teams in northern Peru reported Golden-crowned Tanagers

Having followed the event prior to the Global Big Day, I believe Peru was the only country that prepared to win this challenge. The response and enthusiasm from participants was something I’ve never seen before. Such enthusiasm, combined with social media and the eBird platform gather the elements to conduct bird survey ideas with specific focus and goal.


Cusco Teams, within-country champions reported Hooded Mountain-Tanagers.

On the competitive front, there is already talk among Peruvian birders on preparing to defend the 2015 title. Colombia and Brazil hold the world’s largest bird list and lots of passionate birders. There is no doubt in my mind the 2016 Global Big Day is going to be the largest competition the bird world has ever seen. Now there is first place to beat in every possible category. There is goal besides contributing to bird bird studies. Can’t wait for the 2016 eBird’s Global Big Day.

Written by Alfredo Begazo
Alfredo lives in Florida but grew up alongside Peruvian Meadowlarks and Marvelous Spatuletails in Peru. Trained as Wildlife Biologist, he divides his time between South Florida and the tropics where he spends a fair amount of time. Alfredo founded Surbound , a blog on mission to connect the birds, wildlife, people, and magnificent landscapes in the Americas.