New eBird Checklist, Global Big Day 2021

There was a slight breeze at 8 in the morning when I got out my DSLR to take part in this year’s Global Big Day. The air was unusually loud with bird songs, reminding me it was breeding season for our fine-feathered friends.

Flamboyant and elaborate displays of prominent plumage colors blurred the camera lenses as different species showed off how strong and healthy they were, advertising their suitability as the best mates.

And, honestly speaking, if there was ever a month to give bird watching a try, it would definitely be May. It’s arguably the best month of the year for urban birders, with Nairobi, my location of choice, boasting of about 700 bird species scattered in and around the environs.

This month, breeding season is in full swing and our year-round birds as well as new species are either looking for nesting sites or already raising their young.

Apart from Global Big Day, and the fancy bird dances, this month we also celebrate World Bird Migratory Day an annual global campaign dedicated to raising awareness of migratory birds and the need for international cooperation to conserve them.

This year’s WBMD’s theme; “Sing, Fly, Soar – Like a Bird!” focused on the phenomena of “bird song” and “bird flight” as a way to inspire and connect people of all ages around the world with nature by actively listening to – and watching birds – wherever they are.

Bird watching may just seem like a fun hobby, but you might be surprised to learn that your sightings of backyard birds can contribute to scientific research. In fact, during last year’s Global Big Day event, there were a record number of people documenting birds, tens of thousands, from 175 countries worldwide.

During this year’s Global Big Day, I opted to record urban birds around the Nairobi Parklands area and share my observations, findings and enumeration with the rest of the world through the e-bird portal.

Just so you know, urban birding can be done anywhere. You can “bird” in your backyard, your neighborhood, or any of your chosen site’s natural spaces.

eBird is an online database run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology where record the birds you’ve observed and check out what your peers have been seeing.

The free, open-access web database began in 2002 with the vision that bird watching data could be used to advance avian science. Almost 20 years later, it’s engaging tens of thousands of birders in multiple languages from all over the globe and driving cutting edge science and bird and their habitat conservation.

Interest in bird watching has soared since COVID-19. Even though we might not be able to travel to exotic places such as indigenous forests and Important Bird Areas right now, migratory birds bring a bit of these habitats to us.

The best way to start is to get a dependable pair of binoculars and then go enjoy the outdoors.

Check out a sample of our checklist below, and let’s meet next year and compare notes!

English Name: Speckled Mousebird

Status: Least concern

Population Trend: Increasing

Scientific name: Colius striatus

Size: 33 cm/ 12″

Habitat: Forest, Savanna, Shrubland, Grassland, Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic), Artificial/Terrestrial

Appearance: It’s dull-mousy brown in overall color on the back and on the head (including a prominent crest). The bill is black on the upper part and is a pinkish color on the lower part.

Threats: None

Food: The speckled mousebird is a frugivore which subsists on fruits, berries, leaves, seeds and nectar, and is fairly strict in its choice of food from area to area.

Did you know: These are conspicuously social birds, feeding together and engaging in mutual preening. They also accompany each other when they go to ground to dust bathe (also to occasionally to swallow pebbles to assist in grinding up vegetation as they digest it)?

English Name: African paradise flycatcher

Status: Least concern

Population Trend: Stable

Scientific name: Terpsiphone viridis

Size: 17 cm

Habitat: Forest, Savanna, Shrubland, Artificial/Terrestrial

Appearance: The African paradise flycatcher has a black head, neck and underparts, and chestnut wings and tail. There is a prominent white wingbar. The female has a browner tint to the underparts and lacks the wingbar and tail streamers. Young birds are similar to the female but duller. The males show considerable variation in plumage in some areas.

Threats: None

Food: It is insectivorous, often hunting by catching flies on the wing, and eating eggs, larvae and adults. It also feeds on spiders and sometimes consumes berries.

English Name: Abyssinian Thrush

Status: Least concern
Population Trend: Unknown

Scientific name: Turdus abyssinicus

Size: 22 cm/ 8.7″

Habitat: Forest, Shrubland, Wetlands (inland), Artificial/Terrestrial

Appearance: Bright orange bill and orange breast.

Threats: None.

English Name: Common Bulbul

Status: Least concern

Population Trend: Increasing

Scientific name: Pycnonotus barbatus

Size: 18 cm/ 7″

Habitat: Forest, Savanna, Shrubland, Wetlands (inland), Desert, Artificial/Terrestrial

Appearance: The bill is fairly short and thin, with a slightly down curving upper mandible. The bill, legs, and feet are black and the eye is dark brown with a dark eye-ring, which is not readily visible.

Threats: None

Food: This species eats fruit, nectar, seeds and insects.
Did you know: Sexes are similar in plumage?

English Name: Black Kite

Status: Least concern

Population Trend: Stable

Scientific name: Milvus migrant

Size: 61 cm./ 24″

Habitat: Forest, Savanna, Shrubland, Grassland, Wetlands (inland), Desert, Marine Intertidal, Marine Coastal/Supratidal, Artificial/Terrestrial

Appearance: Fairly large raptor with angled wings and a long slightly forked tail

Threats: Residential & commercial development/ pollution

Food: They will swoop down with their legs lowered to snatch small live prey, fish, household refuse and carrion. They are opportunist hunters and have been known to take birds, bats, and rodents.

Did you know: As a large raptorial bird, the black kite has few natural predators?

The world of birds is so much more vibrant and active than I’d ever realized once I started paying attention. The rediscovery of this simple joy is one of those proverbial silver linings in this time when social distancing is the new normal.

Birds are interesting and they fly. Bird watching is an easy hobby to pick up during COVID-19, and after a while, most people will be able to identify birds for themselves.

One of the beauties of bird watching is that anyone can do it if they’re attentive to their natural surrounding. It’s an easy hobby to pick up during COVID-19, and after a while, most people will be able to identify birds for themselves.

A sense of adventure is the most important need for bird watching, and a set of binoculars or DSLR camera and possibly a field guide will help round out the experience.

Whether a bird watcher or a birder, you can take it to any level you wish…. that’s the beauty of enjoying birds!

Our passion for nature and travel is reflected in our understanding of the need to experience the natural environment in a sustainable and unique way.

Our commitment to you is “The Perfect Balance between Nature & Discovery, Adventure & Luxury”…

[Find Out]

Experience more...

Tweets

Happy #AfricaDay 🥰🥰 #Letsgosomewhere https://t.co/S7pUJP9Dl0 Read More

May 25 2021, 1:53 pm

Путешествие в Кению: украинцев встречают танцами и кокосовым соком - Новости на https://t.co/T9NNZEhj1D #Travel... Read More

May 10 2021, 7:14 am

#MothersDay #MothersDay2021 #happymothersday2021 https://t.co/G6wLkHkcaa Read More

May 09 2021, 9:12 am