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National Go Birding Day – April 29, 2023

National Go Birding Day is celebrated annually on the last Saturday in April. This year, the celebration falls on April 29. The holiday is for celebrating the wonderful ways of our feathery friends, the birds. Earth is home to nearly 10,000 different bird species, with the chicken being the most common. Two-thirds of all bird species reside in rainforests and are seen throughout the year. There are specific times during the year when more of them are seen.

History of National Go Birding Day

In the mid-1700s, most people watched birds for hunting as a sport or primarily for food. It wasn’t until much later that the study of birds and nature became widely popular. During the Victorian era, between 1837 to 1901 people collected birds’ eggs and feathers, and later preserved their feathers. The late 18th century works of Gilbert White, Thomas Bewick, George Montagu, and John Clare show an early interest in observing birds for their aesthetic rather than for food sources. The phrase “bird watching” first appeared as the title of a book by Edmund Selous in 1901. Previously, the identification of birds was by shooting them, until the emergence of optics and field identification guides in North America.

“Birds through an Opera Glass” (1889) by Florence Bailey was the first field guide published in the United States. From the 1880s onwards, there was a significant increase in interest in wild birds. Bird-watching first gained popularity in the United Kingdom, with the United States not far behind. One of the many appeals of bird-watching is that it is an inexpensive activity. Basic equipment used includes binoculars, a notebook to aid identification, and recording time and place of sightings.

Travel is not necessary, many bird-watchers set up feeding stations at local parks or at their homes to attract birds. Scientists rely on lists of bird observations compiled by members of local bird-watching societies to determine the dispersal, habitat, and migration patterns of various species. Amateur bird-watchers began to increase their fieldwork, including photography, around 1930.

National Go Birding Day timeline

1889
The First Field Guide

“Birds Through an Opera Glass” is the first field guide published in the United States.

1894
Bird Watching is Revolutionized

The creation of binoculars changes bird identification and observation forever.

1930s
A Birdwatchers Network

The British Trust for Ornithology forms the first network of birdwatchers in the U.K.

2005
An Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Sighting

Sightings of the previously thought-to-be-extinct ivory-billed woodpecker occur.

National Go Birding Day FAQs

What is the best time to go birdwatching?

In the early hours of the morning.

What do you call a birdwatcher?

A birdwatcher is called a twitcher or birder.

Which bird is the most sighted?

The red-winged blackbird is the most-sighted bird.

National Go Birding Day Activities

  1. Take pictures

    Take out your binoculars and go birding with your family and friends on National Go Birding Day. Take pictures of as many birds as you can today.

  2. Visit a nature reserve

    You can also commemorate this day by visiting a nearby nature reserve. If you’re artistic, you might want to bring a sketchbook and some colored pencils to capture the birds you see.

  3. Share social media posts

    You can take fun pictures and videos of your favorite birds and share them with others on social media. You can also use the hashtag #GoBirdingDay.

5 Interesting Facts About Birds

  1. Ability to mimic humans

    Some birds, such as parrots and ravens, can mimic human speech.

  2. The largest mammal eyes

    Ostriches have the largest pair of eyes of a mammal.

  3. Birds migrate

    Depending on the time of year, birds move in search of food and shelter.

  4. Sleep with one eye open

    Some ducks sleep with one eye open to keep guard when they nap in groups.

  5. Nearly 10,000 species

    There are 9,600 bird species in the world, with over 2,000 in North America.

Why We Love National Go Birding Day

  1. An opportunity to enjoy bird sightings

    With over 9,800 bird species in the world, it is physically impossible for anyone to see all of them. National Bird Day allows anyone with an interest in birds to see at least one of the 850 bird species found in the United States.

  2. It connects us with nature

    Birding can be done all year long. It will get you outside, giving you fresh air and exercise while also allowing you to connect with nature.

  3. It’s an educational activity

    Birding teaches about birds, their habits, and their activities. Do it alone or with friends.

National Go Birding Day dates

YearDateDay
2022April 30Saturday
2023April 29Saturday
2024April 27Saturday
2025April 26Saturday
2026April 25Saturday

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