American Coot
American Coot

Global Big Day

The North American Migration Count (NAMC) is now a global annual event called the “Global Big Day.” It is a day to get out and see as many birds as possible. Birders record the species seen and the individuals counted, contributing to a growing database of changes or trends in bird populations and movements over time.

Data will now be collected and organized through the free, open website eBird (, making it much easier for birders to submit their information. Be a part of Global Big Day in Arizona! Go birding anywhere (of course, we are keen to get some good bird sightings in Navajo, Apache, and Greenlee counties). Keep track of the birds you see and the number of individuals. After your excellent birdwatching outing, log onto eBird and input your data under the “Submit Observations” tab.

If you have used eBird before, it is handled like any other trip list. If you have not used eBird, this is an excellent opportunity to start.

Set up a free account and then submit your observations. From now on, you can create online trip lists that others can see, and you can start creating a permanent electronic journal of your bird sightings. You can add older trips to your account, and use eBird as a digital diary of your life list. Last year’s Global Big Day featured more than 60% of the world’s bird species in a single day, with sightings from more than 17,500 eBirders spread across 154 countries.

Here are a couple of quick ways to have the most fun:

1. “Scout” your birding spots. Finding where the birds are ahead of time makes the big day birding more fun, and also gives you more chances to be out enjoying birds. Learn how to use eBird to find birds.

2. Get a friend involved. Perhaps this is an excellent birding buddy or someone who has never been birding. Make it a friendly competition, or join a Global Big Day team. Check it out on Facebook. No matter what you do—have a great time, enjoy the birds around you, and let us know what you find!

Timber Mesa Christmas Bird Count

The Timber Mesa CBC is held annually between Dec 14th and Jan 5th. The first CBC was held in 1900 and is the longest-running animal census on earth. The citizen science program collects yearly data vital for land management decisions and wildlife policy. There is no fee to participate, and the annually published report, American Birds, will be available online.

WMAS participants will meet in December and divide into groups to cover the designated 15-mile-wide area as much as possible. Birders count species and the numbers of each species, record their sightings, and then turn in what they saw to the count compiler, Mary Williams (480) 235-1792.

The White Mountain area is known for its wintering waterfowl and Bald Eagles. Some birds seen on recent CBCs are Canvasback, Redhead Duck, Hooded Merganser, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, American kestrel, Townsend’s Solitaire, and Belted Kingfisher. All levels of birding are welcome.