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Whatcom County residents can help worldwide effort to list birds

Observers around the world saw more than 6,000 species of birds on Global Big Day in 2015.
Observers around the world saw more than 6,000 species of birds on Global Big Day in 2015. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Citizen scientists and birders of skills from amateur to expert are being enlisted for the second annual Global Big Day on May 14 in an effort to add species to the online database at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Cornell Lab is a member-supported unit of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, which is internationally known for its research on birds and other wildlife.

Global Big Day is like another Cornell Lab project, the Great Backyard Bird Count. But this is a 24-hour worldwide online effort to catalog species on Saturday, May 14 — International Migratory Bird Day.

It gets its name from the birding term “big year,” a competition to see who can identify the largest number of species in a calendar year within a certain area. On the first Global Big Day last year, some 4,000 people in 135 countries created 45,000 eBird checklists citing 6,085 total species.

To participate, go online to ebird.org/globalbigday and create an account to submit your birds. For more information, go to birds.cornell.edu or eBird.org. If you have a smartphone, search for the Cornell Lab’s free Merlin Bird ID app to help identify birds.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-715-2805, @bhamMitty

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