Celebrating International Migratory Bird Day

Many of you may not know that every year, May 8th is celebrated as International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) to recognize and appreciate the amazing journeys of migratory birds from their wintering grounds to the spring and summer breeding grounds. The first IMBD for North America started in 1993 and was related to the North American Migratory Bird Treaty. Another World Migratory Bird Day was set in 2006 by the UN to raise awareness of the migratory bird connections between Africa and Eurasia. In 2018 the two programs joined together to create one global program and event. The second weekend of May is the selected date for this celebration, but in other countries and regions of the world similar events are held on other dates, recognizing that bird migrations cover vast distances and peak at different times. The most common event held is a Big Day bird count where participants record as many species as they can over a 24 hour period. 

Orange-crowned Warbler. Photo: Tom Ediger
Orange-crowned Warbler. Photo: Tom Ediger

First Big Day Bird Count on Mayne Island

So, on May 8th 2021, the Mayne Island Conservancy launched its first annual event—the Mayne Island Big Day Bird Count. Thirty-five people spent some part of their day counting species of birds encountered along the way. Over the course of the day 88 species of birds were tallied. What a great beginning to our first time event! The list of birds observed provides a snap shot of the diversity of birds that choose Mayne Island as a place to raise young or as a place to feed up to fly further north or east. This diversity speaks to the continued availability of appropriate feeding and breeding habitats in predictable supply year in and year out. Many of the birds that were tallied are dependent on intact forests for this purpose and do not fare well in fragmented landscapes that make them susceptible to predators. 

Golden-crowned sparrow. Photo: Don Enright

88 Species: Mayne Island Big Day, May 8, 2021

  • Canada Goose
  • Mallard
  • Surf Scoter
  • Bufflehead
  • Pacific Loon
  • Common Loon
  • Brandt’s Cormorant
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Pelagic Cormorant
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Osprey
  • Bald Eagle
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk
  • Black Oystercatcher
  • Pigeon Guillemot
  • Bonaparte’s Gull
  • Mew Gull
  • California Gull
  • Iceland (Thayer’s) Gull
  • Glaucous-winged Gull
  • Western Gull
  • Rock Pigeon
  • Band-tailed Pigeon
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove
  • Barred Owl
  • Anna’s Hummingbird
  • Rufous Hummingbird
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Northern Flicker
  • Red-breasted Sapsucker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Olive-sided Flycatcher
  • Pacific-slope Flycatcher
  • Warbling Vireo
  • Cassin’s Vireo
  • Hutton’s Vireo
  • Northwestern Crow
  • Common Raven
  • Western Purple Martin
  • Tree Swallow
  • Violet-Green Swallow
  • Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  • Cliff Swallow
  • Barn Swallow
  • Chestnut-backed Chickadee
  • Bushtit
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • Brown Creeper
  • Bewick’s Wren
  • House Wren
  • Pacific Wren
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • Swainson’s Thrush
  • American Robin
  • Varied Thrush
  • European Starling
  • Orange-crowned Warbler
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Townsend’s Warbler
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler
  • Wilson’s Warbler
  • Spotted Towhee
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • Savannah Sparrow
  • Song Sparrow
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow
  • Fox Sparrow
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Golden-crowned Sparrow
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Black-headed Grosbeak
  • Western Tanager
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Brown-headed Cowbird
  • House Finch
  • Purple Finch
  • Red Crossbill
  • American Goldfinch
  • Pine Siskin
  • Evening Grosbeak
  • House Sparrow


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