Urban Birding Challenge – Londoners challenged to take on major cities worldwide

The gauntlet has been thrown down. Binoculars have been draped around necks and telescopes slung over shoulders. The call to compete in The Urban Birding Challenge has been issued!

The birders of London have been invited to compete in a worldwide urban birding extravaganza. London has been challenged to go toe-to-toe with other cities around the world in a Big Year Competition. Our quest: to find as many species in the Capital during 2015 as possible.

At least a dozen cities have signed up including New York, Lima, Toronto and Miami with many others like Jerusalem, Singapore, Paris and Beijing on the verge of involvement.

How does it work?

It’s all about the number of species we can register in the Greater London area over a year. It’s important to note that the recording area is boundary of Greater London (and not the London Natural History Society recording area which is a 20 mile radius around St. Paul’s cathedral). So it really is urban.

All you have to do is to report the birds you see in your London local patches or casual records during your daily lives on eBird http://ebird.org/content/ebird/

eBird will be the online checklist program within which all the competing cities will enter their records. If your bird lists are not entered on eBird then they will not go towards the grand total. Obviously, we don’t stand a chance in a straight head-to-head against the Beijing’s or Nairobi’s of this world so a handicap system will be put in place. Details of the handicap system plus our particular target number of species will be circulated in due course.

Indeed, further details on The Urban Birding Challenge will shortly be available on:


You can sign up on the site now to be notified of  when it goes ‘live’.

David LindoKaren Sutton (pictured with David 'The Urban Birder' Liondo) at Crossness earlier this year) has been promoted to Biodiversity Team Manager at Thames Water, putting her in charge of a portfolio of sites. (photo: Brenda Todd)

David Lindo, aka ‘The Urban Birder’, who is promoting the Urban Birding Challenge, pictured with Thames Water Biodiversity Team Manager  Karen Sutton back in May 2014.  (Photo: Brenda Todd)

So please get involved. It’s really easy. You don’t need to be an expert as we are all working as a collective and will be great fun. Plus, The Urban Birding Challenge will be a great way of promoting patch watching.

So, come on London let’s get birding!

Happy New Birding Year

David Lindo – The Urban Birder

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