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Third Annual Big Day Bird Count

May 13, 2023

Organized by Michael Dunn, Executive Director, Mayne Conservancy

International Migratory Bird Day 2023 will be celebrated in North America on Saturday, May 13. It is designated as a day to reflect on the amazing travels of many bird species from wintering to breeding sites and also to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining significant and predictable feeding and nesting opportunities for these birds to thrive.

We have chosen this day for our third Big Day Bird Count as a way for many of us to get to know our bird neighbours better. Last year’s count was very successful (86 species) and participants (28) had a wonderful time getting out and having a casual day of observing the spring birds of our area. This time of year we will be seeing the wave of migrant species flowing north from warmer climes and displacing the many overwintering birds that we see in our Christmas count. The Big Day results give us a snap shot of the species that use our area for migratory stopover and those that stay here to breed.

How to participate:

The beauty of this count is that it is easy to participate – all you have to do is go out on May 13th and do some birding for as long as you desire. The count period is the 24 hours of May 13th for those who wish to do owling or catch the Dawn Chorus (pre-dawn). Your responsibilities are:

  • Let Michael Dunn know you are participating and how many, if you are part of a team – mjechael.dunn@gmail.com
  • Commit to a time-frame (e.g. 1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours, all-day?) and count as many different species as you can see in that time-frame.
  • Record those species on a list.
  • Get your completed list to Michael Dunn – mjechael.dunn@gmail.com

How to do your count:

This is the fun part. You can do your count solo or in a team. Family groups are most welcomed. If you choose to team up with others give yourselves a name. Be creative! Only one list for each team is necessary, so designate a recorder for your team. In terms of the area to count, it is your choice. You can go anywhere on the island to count birds and not worry about overlap with other birders. As we are doing only species, overlap is fine as a final list of different species seen will be compiled from all the lists submitted.

Let’s celebrate!

The plan this year, after two years of not being able to gather, is to have an informal late afternoon drop in at Michael Dunn’s home, 641 Gallagher Bay Road. It will be outside and there will be some tents for shelter should it be raining. Snacks will be provided but bring your own refreshments and cups. Drop by and stay for a while or just drop off your list. This will be an opportunity to share your lists and stories and have some food.

There will be prizes for most birds recorded by an individual and a team, best team name and the selection of the bird species of the count.

What happens to the results?

All the lists submitted will be used to compile a single list of the total species seen on May 13th. This list will be posted on the eBird site for such lists so it will be accessible to birders all around the world. Also a summary of the Big Day Count will be posted on the Conservancy website.



May 13, 2023
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Mayne Island Conservancy
(250) 539-2535


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