All About Birds Blog

What’s It Like to Find 264 Species in One Big Day? [video]

By on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013 - 12 Comments

Big Days are intense: Last year, our Team Sapsucker spent all 24 hours of April 27 scouring central and eastern Texas for birds. They had three dozen species on their list before dawn broke, and hit triple digits shortly before 8 a.m. They kept going, adding an average of one species every 11 minutes throughout the day.

To help the rest of us picture what that sort of daylong deluge of birds feels like, we’ve condensed their Big Day into a 4-minute slideshow. Watch and enjoy as the birds flash by!

Curious about which species is which in the slideshow? Refer to the table below—or download a printable PDF. (Note: the slideshow does not show all 264 species, and these photos were not taken on the Big Day itself.)

Photo Number Common name Scientific name
1 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis
2 Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Nyctanassa violacea
3 Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
4 Barred Owl Strix varia
5 White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica
6 American Robin Turdus migratorius
7 American Coot Fulica americana
8 Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus
9 Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
10 Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
11 Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
12 Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
13 Blue-winged Teal Anas discors
14 Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus
15 Common Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
16 Gadwall Anas strepera
17 Barn Owl Tyto alba
18 Redhead Aythya americana
19 Canvasback Aythya valisineria
20 Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
22 American Wigeon Anas americana
23 Northern Pintail Anas acuta
24 Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
25 Wood Duck Aix sponsa
26 Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo
27 Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
28 Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
29 Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius
30 Purple Martin Progne subis
31 Clay-colored Sparrow Spizella pallida
32 Painted Bunting Passerina ciris
34 Eastern Screech-Owl Megascops asio
35 Chuck-will’s-widow Antrostomus carolinensis
38 Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus
39 Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
40 Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
41 Bewick’s Wren Thryomanes bewickii
42 Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus
43 Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus forficatus
44 Couch’s Kingbird Tyrannus couchii
45 Ash-throated Flycatcher Myiarchus cinerascens
46 Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus
47 Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
48 Eurasian Collared-Dove Streptopelia decaocto
49 Black-throated Sparrow Amphispiza bilineata
50 Curve-billed Thrasher Toxostoma curvirostre
51 European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
52 Green Jay Cyanocorax yncas
53 Cactus Wren Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus
54 Swainson’s Hawk Buteo swainsoni
55 Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
56 Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway
57 White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
62 Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
63 Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus
64 Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
65 Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
66 Inca Dove Columbina inca
67 Common Ground-Dove Columbina passerina
68 White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
69 Black-chinned Hummingbird Archilochus alexandri
70 Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
71 Ladder-backed Woodpecker Picoides scalaris
72 Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens
73 Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
74 Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe
75 Western Kingbird Tyrannus verticalis
76 Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons
77 Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus
78 Olive Sparrow Arremonops rufivirgatus
79 Cassin’s Sparrow Peucaea cassinii
80 Rufous-crowned Sparrow Aimophila ruficeps
81 Common Raven Corvus corax
82 Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis
83 Carolina Chickadee Poecile carolinensis
84 Black-crested Titmouse Baeolophus atricristatus
85 Canyon Wren Catherpes mexicanus
86 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea
87 American Pipit Anthus rubescens
88 Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
89 Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata
90 Yellow-throated Warbler Setophaga dominica
91 Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
92 Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus
93 Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
94 Bronzed Cowbird Molothrus aeneus
95 Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater
96 Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius
97 Hooded Oriole Icterus cucullatus
98 House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus
99 Lesser Goldfinch Spinus psaltria
100 House Sparrow Passer domesticus
101 Harris’s Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus
102 Lark Bunting Calamospiza melanocorys
103 Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
104 Rufous-capped Warbler Basileuterus rufifrons
113 Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis
114 Dickcissel Spiza americana
115 Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta
116 Yellow-headed Blackbird Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus
117 Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
118 Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
119 Green Heron Butorides virescens
120 Cinnamon Teal Anas cyanoptera
121 Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris
122 Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
123 Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla
124 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
125 Yellow Warbler Setophaga petechia
126 Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata
127 Chihuahuan Raven Corvus cryptoleucus
130 Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
131 Greater Roadrunner Geococcyx californianus
132 Western Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica
133 Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Polioptila melanura
134 Verdin Auriparus flaviceps
135 Cave Swallow Petrochelidon fulva
136 Canyon Towhee Melozone fusca
137 Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina
138 Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
139 Nashville Warbler Oreothlypis ruficapilla
140 Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
141 Varied Bunting Passerina versicolor
142 Tropical Parula Setophaga pitiayumi
143 Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla
144 Long-billed Thrasher Toxostoma longirostre
145 Golden-cheeked Warbler Setophaga chrysoparia
146 Grasshopper Sparrow Ammodramus savannarum
147 Brewer’s Blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus
148 Bank Swallow Riparia riparia
149 Rock Wren Salpinctes obsoletus
152 Cooper’s Hawk Accipiter cooperii
153 Anhinga Anhinga anhinga
154 Franklin’s Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan
155 Monk Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus
156 American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
157 Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula
158 Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus
159 Mississippi Kite Ictinia mississippiensis
160 Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus
161 Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon
162 White-tailed Hawk Geranoaetus albicaudatus
163 Great Egret Ardea alba
164 Snowy Egret Egretta thula
165 Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus
166 Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
167 Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla
168 White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis
169 Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos
170 Dunlin Calidris alpina
171 Stilt Sandpiper Calidris himantopus
172 Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus
173 Wilson’s Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor
174 Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis
175 Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus
176 Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor
177 Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus
178 Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
179 Red-headed Woodpecker Melanerpes erythrocephalus
180 Acadian Flycatcher Empidonax virescens
181 Prothonotary Warbler Protonotaria citrea
182 Tennessee Warbler Oreothlypis peregrina
183 Northern Parula Setophaga americana
184 Pine Warbler Setophaga pinus
185 Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis
187 Rock Pigeon Columba livia
188 Osprey Pandion haliaetus
189 Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla
190 Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
191 Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja
192 Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor
193 Least Tern Sternula antillarum
194 White Ibis Eudocimus albus
195 Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
196 Forster’s Tern Sterna forsteri
197 Common Loon Gavia immer
198 Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
199 Black Skimmer Rynchops niger
200 Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis
201 Herring Gull Larus argentatus
202 Common Tern Sterna hirundo
206 Fulvous Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna bicolor
207 Mottled Duck Anas fulvigula
208 Black Tern Chlidonias niger
209 Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus
210 Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna
211 Sedge Wren Cistothorus platensis
212 Nelson’s Sparrow Ammodramus nelsoni
213 Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis
214 Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens
215 Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola
216 Wilson’s Plover Charadrius wilsonia
217 Piping Plover Charadrius melodus
218 American Avocet Recurvirostra americana
219 Willet Tringa semipalmata
220 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
221 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
222 Sanderling Calidris alba
223 Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
224 Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica
225 Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris
226 Marbled Godwit Limosa fedoa
227 Le Conte’s Sparrow Ammodramus leconteii
228 Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia
231 Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus
232 Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus
233 Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula
234 Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator
235 Long-billed Curlew Numenius americanus
236 Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda
237 Snowy Plover Charadrius nivosus
238 Red Knot Calidris canutus
239 Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor
240 Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata
241 Northern Waterthrush Parkesia noveboracensis
242 Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
244 Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina
245 Swainson’s Thrush Catharus ustulatus
246 Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis
247 American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla
248 Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla
249 White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis
250 Magnolia Warbler Setophaga magnolia
251 Kentucky Warbler Geothlypis formosa
252 Cerulean Warbler Setophaga cerulea
254 Blackpoll Warbler Setophaga striata
255 Black-throated Green Warbler Setophaga virens
256 Scarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea
257 American Bittern Botaurus lentiginosus
258 Sora Porzana carolina
259 White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi
260 Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria
261 Seaside Sparrow Ammodramus maritimus
262 King Rail Rallus elegans
263 Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata
264 Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinicus

Species recorded during Big Day but not pictured in slideshow

Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus
Pacific Loon Gavia pacifica
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus
Clapper Rail Rallus longirostris
American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus
Baird’s Sandpiper Calidris bairdii
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus
Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanus
Lesser Nighthawk Chordeiles acutipennis
Common Poorwill Phalaenoptilus nuttallii
Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons
Brown-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus tyrannulus
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus
Bell’s Vireo Vireo bellii
Black-capped Vireo Vireo atricapilla
Hutton’s Vireo Vireo huttoni
Yellow-breasted Chat Icteria virens
Green-tailed Towhee Pipilo chlorurus
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra
Pyrrhuloxia Cardinalis sinuatus
Blue Grosbeak Passerina caerulea
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea
Bullock’s Oriole Icterus bullockii
Yellow Rail Coturnicops noveboracensis
Boat-tailed Grackle Quiscalus major

(Photos courtesy Chris Wood and Tim Lenz.)

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12 Comments

  1. Patti Jones says:

    Beautiful and so well presented. Thank you. I lived in Texas for many years and never realized what a variety of birds are there. I have now lived in Colombia, South America, a great treat for bird lovers.

  2. Tony Austin says:

    My father, Dr. O.L. Austin, Jr. would have loved this and I can just see him naming every one as it appeared….Tony Austin

  3. Judy Adams says:

    wonderful! Is there a slideshow version? It would make a great “quiz” for an Audubon meeting :-)

  4. Joy & Dan says:

    Thanks so much for a glorious birder’s treat which arrived in time for my morning coffee.I’ve shared it with 3 San Diego birders already & bookmarked it to enjoy again & again.
    Many thanks to the Cornell team.

  5. Joanie Haris says:

    I think the video would be more enjoyable if the species names were on the pictures. It was not easy to go through the list of names & watch the video, too. I love birds & it took me awhile to put the list with the pictures. Thanks

  6. Thomas Collins says:

    Can you post your list as they were seen/heard and note those that were first recorded as Heard?hanks

    Thanks

  7. Kim says:

    Thank you! Wonderful to see these birds. Please consider slowing down the presentation of each bird for next year – a family member has difficulty seeing and would have loved this. Thanks for your consideration.

  8. Margot says:

    Strangely brings tears to my eyes! The joy of it!

  9. Brady H. says:

    Fantastic! Looks like there is another reason to go somewhere other than Austin when suffering through TX. Got to check that out soon!

  10. Lisa says:

    Fantastic! Thank you. The video was done well but was too quick. Please do consider slowing it down for the next one that is done. For those who love birds, time is not a factor; if the video was twice as long but gave us a chance to enjoy seeing each one along with its species name, that would be more pleasurable, imo.

  11. Janet Straub says:

    Fantastic!

  12. Pingback: Here’s a Scout Week Peek at Our 2014 Big Day Route Through the Southwest

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