How’d we do? Global Big Day Weekend Wrap-up!

A ruby-throated hummingbird at Audubon Bent of the River in Southbury, CT. Photo by Nathan Schoonover.

*I was working on this post when a tornado hit my house. So here it is, about a month later than expected, but just in case anyone was wondering…

The results of our Global Big Day–when we try to see as many species of birds in one day as we can as part of an international effort–are in!

We started the day (May 5, 2018) in our yard at 6 a.m. Our neighbor, Steve, joined us for coffee and birdwatching until 8:30. We got 23 species, so it was a great kick-off to the day.

Look at this portly guy!! A Gray Catbird at a preserve in Newtown, CT. Photo by Nathan Schoonover.

I’d jokingly set my goal at 50, and really didn’t think we’d come anywhere near that. But we headed out to a preserve in Newtown, where in under 40 minutes we bagged seven species–the most exciting for me was the Gray Catbird. The big fat thing was sitting on a branch not too far from me, just looking at me, making his kitty-like squawks.

Our second stop was the Audubon Bent of the River in Southbury, where we enjoyed the birding balcony and hiked about three and half miles through all different kinds of habitats: fields, river shoreline, and mature forest. We spent nearly four hours there, but it was worth it…I finally got to see a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, which we’d only heard in our yard, but not seen. The big win, though, was the Baltimore Oriole, which swooped right in and landed on a tree so we could get a good look! I thought my other favorite bird of the day was a Tree Swallow. It looks like it’s wearing an elegant robe of aqua silk.]

A Tree Swallow at Bent of the River. I love these birds–they look like they are dressed in aqua silk. Photo by Nathan Schoonover.

On the way home, we stopped in a couple of parking lots where we know birds hang out–we were so close to fifty, but we missed out by a couple of species. All we needed were the damn Ring-billed Gulls to show up. The one day they’re not trolling the trash-filled parking lots of Danbury!

Species we saw for Global Big Day


TOTAL NEW FOR LIFE LIST (indicated by stars): 13

Ones in red were birds I really wanted to see

Carolina Wren

American Goldfinch

Mourning Dove

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

House Finch

Tufted Titmouse

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Chipping Sparrow

American Crow

Blue Jay

Northern Cardinal

Downy Woodpecker

Black-capped Chickadee

Palm Warbler (audio)

White-throated Sparrow

White-breasted Nuthatch

Northern Flicker

Indigo Bunting

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Common Grackle

Eastern Bluebird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Red-winged Blackbird

Gray Catbird *

Canada Goose

Song Sparrow

Tree Swallow *

Louisiana Waterthrush *

Common Merganser *

Mallard Duck

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher *

Northern Parula (audio)

Rose-breasted Grosbeak *

Baltimore Oriole *

Pine Siskin *

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Kingbird *

Bank Swallow *

Ruby-crowned Kinglet *

Broad-winged Hawk *

Red-tailed Hawk

Hooded Warbler *

House Sparrow

European Starling

American Robin

Hairy Woodpecker

Cooper’s Hawk

There will be another Global Big Day in October…maybe we’ll try to beat our own record, although I’m not sure but I might be up at the Kipling Writer’s Retreat in Vermont.

A couple of turtles chilling out at a nature preserve in Newtown. Photo by Nathan Schoonover.

At the end of the day, we were sooo exhausted we didn’t feel like going anywhere, but our neighbor was having his Kentucky Derby Party, so we walked through the woods to have a drink. I think we were home and in bed shortly after the race.

Kentucky Derby 2018

Far be it from me to be unfestive, but you can totally see how wiped out I am here. My eyes are sort of glazed over and red.

Sunday also turned out to have a treat in store–Audubon Bent of the River in Southbury was going to be banding baby barred owls, and we were invited. I’ve never seen a baby barred owl, and didn’t really realize how large they are at four weeks old! Their little beaks click, too…and in case you are wondering, they are very soft…softer than kittens.

Below, Larry Fischer of (I think) the USGS, who bands most of the birds of prey in this area, introduces us to the new little ones.

About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies; her traditionally published books include a short story collection, THE SHADOWS BEHIND. She was the recipient of three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She serves as co-host of the DARK DISCUSSIONS podcast, as founding editor of the dark literary journal 34 ORCHARD, and is a member of both the New England Horror Writers and the Horror Writers Association. Follow her adventures at

Posted on June 18, 2018, in Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff, News and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: