We birded for 24 hours straight — in the snow.
Big Day 2020 was historic. For the first time, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Team Sapsucker brought Big Day to our own backyard, here in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. This time of year, temperatures routinely crack 70 degrees — but for this Big Day, Team Sapsucker was welcomed by a surprise May 9 snowstorm, and temperatures scarcely above freezing.
Our Team nevertheless forged ahead, birding for 24 hours straight through flurries and freezing temperatures. And experiencing this bird conservation event close to our home was a powerful reminder of how much is at stake — the future of so many beautiful and inspiring bird species depends on the steps we take each day to protect them. Further, being local enabled us to invite our entire staff, including students, to help us look for birds across the area and celebrate the lands conserved for wildlife and communities, including state and federal parks, wildlife refuges, and land trust preserves. Rain, snow, or shine.
Collectively, we found 181 species in 24 hours. Some, like Wood Thrushes, Canada Warblers, and Bobolinks, are in need of
conservation help. Others, including Wood Ducks, Ospreys, and
Wild Turkeys, have experienced increases, showing that conservation
efforts work, and affirming our hope that further actions will bring more birds back, thanks to your generous support.
Take a moment now to watch our video, above, to learn more about Big Day 2020, and see some of our favorite finds and highlights from our day of extreme birding.