Birding Big Day 2016 a massive success!
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.
During BBD 2017 654 birds were recorded by all the birders together! 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. 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 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.
The most common species recorded were Hadeda Ibis, Egyptian Goose, Cape Turtle Dove, Blacksmith Lapwing and Laughing Dove.
BBD 2016 will also be remembered for many other successes. Awareness was raised about bird conservation through eleven radio interviews and numerous articles which appeared in magazines and newspapers. In addition hundreds of 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. More than R50 000 was also raised through this initiative. Above all, the day was about celebrating the wonderful bird diversity we have in our country.
BirdLife South Africa would also like to thank BirdLasser for their support. Birdlasser is adding a sense of community to the event by connecting all the participants through the online map, which makes this a really unique event.
The winners of the lucky draw prizes were:
Team Last Frog:
Team Not the Pumas
Team Greek Godwits
Team Drie Vinkies
Members of the above teams have won either copies of the newly published Guide to Birds of the Kruger National Park by Warwick Tarboton and Peter Ryan or the newly published Chamberlain's Waders: The definitve guide to Southern Africa's Shorebirds by Faansie Peacock.