Birding Big Day 2016 – a Great Success

This media release from BirdLife SA says it all

Nice to be part of such a great day – I will be describing my BBD experience in a forthcoming post.

Birding Big Day 2016

South African birdwatching record smashed!

Johannesburg, 1 December 2016

On 26 November 2016, BirdLife South Africa hosted its 32nd annual Birding Big Day (BBD). During this BBD, teams of birdwatchers attempted to see as many of South Africa’s bird species as possible in a 24-hour-period. This annual event is also used to raise much-needed funds for BirdLife South Africa’s conservation work. BirdLife South Africa is an organisation dedicated to the conservation of our country’s birds, especially the species which are threatened with extinction.

The previous record, during BBD 2015, saw 606 bird species being recorded in South Africa. This record was smashed during BBD 2016 when 654 birds were seen! This is 77.2% of the 847 bird species which have been recorded in South Africa. This amazing achievement is due to the effort of 810 birders who participated in 265 teams. Each team can consist of up to four birders. In total 32 290 bird sightings were recorded during the day. Each team logged the birds seen on BirdLasser, a mobile app, and the sightings were uploaded to an online map where people could view the progress of teams.

Just over 60 additional teams participated in a more informal way, and this means that about 1 000 birders participated in BBD 2016.

The most common species recorded were Hadeda Ibis, Egyptian Goose, Cape Turtle Dove, Blacksmith Lapwing and Laughing Dove.

The team record of 325 species, set in 2008 by team Zonke Inyoni, was equalled by the same team; an amazing achievement! This total was achieved despite some bad weather experienced in the morning. The second team was Team Hamerkop who saw 305 species. Wat-Kyk-Jy recorded 282 species.

Not only was the South African record broken during BBD 2016, but it will also be remembered for many other successes. Awareness was raised about bird conservation, over 300 birders downloaded the BirdLasser app, and it is hoped that many of them will soon contribute valuable data to citizen science projects such as the Southern African Bird Atlas Project. Above all, the day was about celebrating the wonderful bird diversity we have in our country.

For more information about the event see http://www.birdlife.org.za/events/birding-big-day or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/179752395770520/

The link to the interactive map is http://www.birdlasser.com/events/bbd2016

For more information about BirdLasser see www.birdlasser.com and to download and install the app search for “birdlasser” on the Google Playstore and the App Store.

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