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GLOBAL BIG DAY IN ARIZONA

 

Year (narrative) Results
2018 excel file
2017 excel file
2016 excel file

 


2018 Narrative

BY DOUG JENNESS
More than 570 birders counted a record 312 species on 5 May 2018 for the annual Global Big Day! This surpassed the previous high of 303 species reached in 2013 and 2014. Seven counties went over their previous highs—Cochise, Coconino, Graham, Maricopa, Pinal, Santa Cruz, and Yavapai; La Paz County tied its previous high; and five counties scored their second highest totals—Apache, Gila, Mohave, Navajo, and Pima. Maricopa (218) tallied the highest total of any county in the previous 15 years. Species totals for other counties were Cochise (210), Yavapai (199), Coconino (190), Pima (188), Santa Cruz (183), Pinal (177), Gila (175), Graham (163), Mohave (160) Navajo (156), La Paz (145), Apache (124), Yuma (104), and Greenlee (31). Many of the volunteers were in teams coordinated on a countywide basis by the Arizona Field Ornithologists; only Santa Cruz and Greenlee counties did not have county coordinators. For the third year, the AZFO merged more than a dozen years of experience coordinating volunteers for the North American Migration Count into eBird's GBD.

Two new species were added to the 15-year cumulative list: Lapland Longspur (Santa Cruz) and Gray Jay (Apache). The former was a pair of stake-out birds discovered earlier in the spring, but nonetheless amazing as it may be the first May record for this species in the state. Gray Jay is a very local resident that we should have had before. However, the fact that we got it underlines an important element of our success this year, which is that county coordinators and teams targeted localized species such as Gray Jay, Three-toed Woodpecker, Black Rail, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Buff-collared Nightjar, etc. so that we detected more of them than usual, as well as targeting stake-out birds such as Lapland Longspur and Rufous-backed Robin.  It was only the second year that we had reports of Surf Scoter (La Paz and Mohave), Chukar (Navajo), and Rose-throated Becard (Santa Cruz).

 

Of the species reported, 40 were observed in only one county. Ten counties reported at least one of these 39, with Cochise and Santa Cruz having the most (8 each) and Coconino a close second (7). Eighteen species were reported in all 15 counties compared to 17 in 2017 and 6 in 2016. This is particularly noteworthy considering the very limited participation this year from Greenlee County. The species were Eurasian Collared-Dove, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Turkey Vulture, Western Kingbird, Northern Mockingbird, House Sparrow, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, Chipping Sparrow, Black-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Brown-headed Cowbird, Great-tailed Grackle, MacGillivray's Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Western Tanager. This was the first time that MacGillivray's Warbler was on this list; the previous highest number of counties for this species was 11 in 2011. Possibly this was due to the earlier date for this year's count. In all but one year since 2006 Crested Caracara has been reported; this year 5 were reported from 3 counties--Cochise, Pima, and Pinal--the highest number of counties. It was a first for the count for Cochise County.

 

Several other counties added new species to their cumulative lists: La Paz (10), Yavapai (4), Pinal (3), Mohave (2), Apache (1), Graham (1), and Santa Cruz (1). Quite a few new high counts were also set. Pinal County, for example, had an unprecedented 15-year high for 36 species, and La Paz tallied highs for 22 species. The count was a week earlier this year, so better timed for some of these earlier migrants and wintering visitors.

The accompanying Excel spreadsheet has a page comparing the 2018 totals for each species reported by county and a second page comparing county totals by year 2004-18.

The spring migration count helps provide a "snapshot" of the progress and character of spring migration and is also a lot of fun for birders to find as many migrants as they can. Making this survey part of the Global Big Day has offered an opportunity to build on what we had accomplished and make our statewide count part of a broader national, even international, effort. We'll be looking forward to your participation in the Global Big Day in Arizona next year on 4 May 2019. 

 

2017 Narrative

BY DOUG JENNESS
Nearly 600 birders were in the field throughout the state on 13 May for the annual Global Big Day. Many of these were volunteers in teams coordinated on a countywide basis by the Arizona Field Ornithologists. For the second year, the AZFO merged more than a dozen years of experience coordinating volunteers for the North American Migration Count into eBird's GBD. The 291 species reported was 10 short of last year's total. The 14-year high for the count is 303 reached in 2013 and 2014. Of this year's total, Common Crane (Coconino County) was the only new species for the spring migration count. Orchard Oriole (Apache County) was only the second reported for the state count. Seventeen species were reported in all 15 counties compared to six in 2016. They were: Mallard, Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mourning Dove, American Kestrel, Western Wood-Pewee, Western Kingbird, Common Raven, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-headed Grosbeak, Red-winged Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, and Bullock's Oriole. Of the species reported, 50 were observed in only one county. Eleven counties reported at least one of these 50, with Cochise having the most (10) and Yavapai a close second (8).

Species totals for counties were: Cochise (196), Maricopa (179), Yavapai (176), Pima (175), Pinal (167), Santa Cruz (161), Gila (150), Coconino (136), Graham (121), Greenlee (113), Mohave (99), Yuma (96), Apache (84), Navajo (68), and La Paz (67). Several counties added new species to their cumulative lists: Yavapai added Northern Harrier, Downy Woodpecker, and Hooded Warbler; Greenlee added Elf Owl, Hammond's Flycatcher, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak; Pinal added Calliope Hummingbird, Northern Pygmy-Owl, and Broad-winged Hawk; Gila added Short-tailed Hawk and Long-billed Curlew; La Paz added Swainson's Hawk; Apache added Orchard Oriole; and Coconino added Common Crane. La Paz County reported its highest number of Cattle Egrets, an astounding 2,450! Pinal County registered its highest 14-year totals for 19 species. Gila County covered more of the Sierra Ancha Mountains than it had done in previous counts. Notable state misses were Dusky Grouse, White-tailed Kite, Clark's Nutcracker, and Gray Jay, which, with a small organizational effort, could have been found. The accompanying Excel spreadsheet has a page comparing the 2017 totals for each species reported by county and a second page comparing county totals by year 2014-17

Many volunteers reported that the number of birds moving through their areas seemed lower than usual and that numbers may have been higher if the push of birds a few days earlier had continued.

The spring migration count helps provide a "snapshot" of the progress and character of spring migration and is also a lot of fun for birders to find as many migrants as they can. Making this survey part of the Global Big Day has offered an opportunity to build on what we had accomplished and make our statewide count part of a broader national, even international, effort. We'll be looking forward to your participation in the Global Big Day in Arizona next year on 12 May. Let's see if we can break our previous high of 303 species!

 

2016 Narrative

BY DOUG JENNESS

Well over 400 birders were in the field throughout the state on 14 May, the second annual Global Big Day. A large number were in teams coordinated on a countywide basis by the Arizona Field Ornithologists. This year AZFO merged its 12 years of experience coordinating volunteers for the North American Migration Count into eBird's Global Big Day. The 301 species reported was only two short of the 13-year high of 303 in 2013 and 2014. Of this year's total, six are new to the 13-year spring migration count: White-rumped Sandpiper (Pinal), Laughing Gull (Pima), Red-headed Woodpecker (Santa Cruz), Slate-throated Redstart (Cochise), Bobolink (Pima), and Purple Finch (Cochise). All are on the Arizona Bird Committee's Review list. Six species were seen in all 15 counties: Turkey Vulture, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mourning Dove, Common Raven, Western Tanager, and House Finch. Of the species reported, 46 were observed in only one county. Eleven counties reported at least one of these 46, with Cochise having the most (11). Notably, five species of gull and four species of tern were observed. A remarkable record high of 11 Brown Pelicans was reported, including nine at San Carlos Lake that moved around in three counties. This species is more expected in late summer and early fall as monsoon storms drive first-year birds into the state.

The species totals for counties were: Cochise (198), Maricopa (190), Yavapai (177), Pinal (175), Pima (171), Santa Cruz (163), Coconino (161), Gila (161), Graham (156), Mohave (143), Navajo (88), Yuma (87), La Paz (66), Apache (54), and Greenlee (42). Three counties—Graham, Pinal, and Yavapai—reported their highest 13-year totals. Pinal added six new species to its cumulative list and Gila and Cochise each added two, and Maricopa added one. Cochise County, where a high number of tour groups were in the field, reported the greatest number of species for the day (198) and had the most birders in the field. La Paz County reported its highest number of Swainson's Thrush (9), which was nearly half the state total of 19. A photographed Painted Bunting in Maricopa County was only the third for the migration count and the first for Maricopa. The most notable miss was Grasshopper Sparrow, which had been reported in all of the preceding 11 years. With most of the day's reports being submitted directly to eBird, we don't have totals for the number of birds reported, which we compiled from tally sheets in the previous 12 years (See http://www.azfo.org/namc/aznamc.html).

The spring migration count helps provide a "snapshot" of the progress and character of spring migration and is also a lot of fun for birders to find as many migrants as they can. Making this survey part of the Global Big Day offered an opportunity to build on what we had accomplished and make our statewide count part of a broader national, even international, effort. Globally 6,314 species were reported that day by 16,888 participants. In North America, which includes Mexico, 1,512 species were reported by 13,919 participants, and in the U.S.'s lower 48 states 655 species were reported by 11,414 observers. The next Global Big Day in Arizona will be 13 May 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lapland Longspur - Photo Richard Fray

 

Updated Saturday, April 18, 2009
©2005
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