Date: 5/1/19 4:46 am
From: Edward Boyd <edboyd59...>
Subject: Re: [MDBirding] MD May Count dates vs Global Big Day date
The Maryland Ornithological Society's May Count has been an event since
1945. For the first 40+ years it was held on the first Saturday of May.
Year after year, Garrett and Allegheny County participants complained that
migration hadn't really kicked in on the first weekend of May, especially
when the first Saturday was at or near May 1, and they were essentially
getting mostly winters birds and very few Neotropical migrants. Sometime
around 1980, +/- a few years, the count was moved to the second Saturday of
May. The North American Migration Count started in the early 1990s and it
too was held on the second Saturday of May. This was due to it being
founded by Jim Stasz who coordinated the date with the Maryland May Count
but some of the states in the southern U.S. used to complain that migration
was essentially over for them by that date. This was unfounded because
there are some nesters that don't arrive back on territory until around the
second weekend of May (Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher is an example). The NAMC
originally was set up to track data using County/Parrish boundaries. Though
other methods on a smaller scale would be more accurate due to the vast
size of some counties, logisticsand resources were an issue when the count
was first launched. Initially, computers lacked the processing ability to
separate and track the data using other methods. There was a significant
limitation of manpower to process the nationwide data (Jim Stasz on a
Windows 95 based PC) that had compiled on the state level by volunteers in
each of those with counts. Then along came eBird and The Cornell Lab
essentially took over the tracking of the NAMC data with the eBird program.
Though they never officially made an agreement to do this and call it the
NAMC, their ability to track all sighting on a single day accomplishes what
the NAMC was founded to do. Cornell with eBird has the resources to do it
in a far more accurate way than when done by hand on spreadsheets. Today
there are still NAMC counts run throughout various sections of the U.S.,
including here in Maryland. Cornell introduced The Global Big Day in 2015
and held it on May 9th, the second Saturday of the month. It was held on
the 14th in 2016 and the 13th in 2017. Then for some reason, the date was
shifted by Cornell to the first Saturday, May 5th, in 2018 away from the
NAMC date. They are continuing to run it on the first Saturday this year
and it is unclear why.

Ed Boyd
Westminster, MD

On Sat, Apr 27, 2019 at 2:59 PM JAMES SPEICHER <jugornought...>
wrote:

> I'm out of the loop a bit on this [non-attendance at WCBC meetings],
> but wondered why the few May counts I've seen advertised show 5/11 vs
> the GBD date of 5/4 [https://ebird.org/globalbigday]...
>
> Jim Speicher
> BroadRun/Burkittsville area
> [FR] Frederick County MD
> M.O.S. member, Washington [WA] Co Chapter
>
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