Palau citizen-scientists help set a new world record for Global Big Day
Global Big Day is an annual event sponsored by Cornell University and BirdLife International where citizen-scientists from around the world spend the day watching birds and crowdsourcing their observations on the eBird website (ebird.org).
This year, Global Big Day was held on May 5, 2018.
Over 28,000 citizen-scientists from 169 countries participated in Global Big Day 2018.
The participants submitted more than 73,000 checklists of bird observations to the eBird website. The event achieved a new world record for the most species of birds observed in one day (6,872 species).
The Palau National Program for Monitoring Forest and Coastal Birds (Belau National Museum) promotes Global Big Day as part of its mission to monitor Palau’s bird diversity and encourage bird conservation, especially for endangered bird species and species of migratory birds that are protected under the UN Convention on Migratory Species.
The citizen-scientists of Palau who participated in Global Big Day 2018 submitted 27 checklists with a combined total of 48 species, an increase of two additional checklists and 10 more species than Global Big Day 2017. Palau ranked second in the Pacific Ocean Region for number of species reported on Global Big Day 2018.
New Zealand ranked number 1, CNMI ranked number 3, Midway Island number 4 then Fiji, Guam, New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Vanuatu.
Globally, Palau ranked 68th among the 169 participating countries in number of checklists submitted and 114th in number of species.
Although the numbers of checklists and species from Palau are modest by global standards, Palau’s citizen-scientists made a significant contribution to breaking the world record because 12 of the Global Big Day species from Palau were endemics found only in Palau.
Three additional non-endemic species were reported only from Palau because nobody outside of Palau observed them during Global Big Day 2018. By the end of the day, Palau’s citizen-scientists contributed 15 unique (seen only in Palau on Global Big Day) species to the new world record for the most species of birds seen in one day.
Belau National Museum’s eBird crowdsourcing project is operated under the National Program for Monitoring Forest and Costal Birds with funding assistance from the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Program (GEF/SGP) through UNDP and from the Global Environment Facility Palau STAR project through UN Environment (UNEP).
According to the Palau Bird Records Committee of the national program, Palau has the richest diversity of bird species (168 species) in Micronesia and, according to BirdLife International, Palau has the most important site for migratory shorebirds (Northern Peleliu Lkes Important Bird Area) in Oceania.
Participation in Global Big Day and in the eBird global database communicates Palau’s unique bird diversity to the global birdwatcher community which is a major sector ($5 billion annually) of the world eco-tourism industry. For more information about Global Big Day visit the eBird website <https://ebird.org/globalbigday>. (PR)