Are you ready for the 28th BirdLife South Africa Birding Big Day on Saturday 24 November 2012? The annual highlight on the country's birding calendar runs from midnight to midnight and is an event not missed by South Africa's avid bird-watchers, both beginners and competitive twitchers alike.
The event raises awareness about birds, allows for the collection of data, while at the same time raising much needed funds for the organisation's important bird conservation and monitoring work.
Serious birders can take part in the Open Category, a competitive category where birders attempt to see as many bird species as possible in a predefined area", says Mark Anderson, chief executive officer of BirdLife South Africa.
"Participation in the Southern African Bird Atlas Project 2 (SABAP2) is also encouraged as this information is used to map the distribution of birds and is useful for conservation planning and climate change studies. Birders must follow the Southern African Bird Atlas Project 2 protocol (www.sabap2.org) and need to be registered atlasers, with Animal Demography Unit observer numbers."
For backyard or beginner birders, the prospect of birding for 24 hours may be a bit daunting. The Garden Birder category is ideal for the ever-increasing number of backyard birders interested in this pastime. The information can be submitted online through the MyBirdPatch project.
This year, a portion of funds raised during Birding Big Day will go towards BirdLife South Africa's Secretarybird project and the Southern African Bird Atlas Project 2.
The Top 3 teams in each category will receive certificates of recognition and Birding Big Day cloth badges will be issued to the members of teams who raise R250 and more in sponsorship or donations to BirdLife South Africa. Besides being part of this popular birding event and doing their bit by keeping track of birding data for conservation, teams and individuals who raise R250 or more will be eligible for the lucky draw. Prizes include weekend getaways, books, bird feeders and much more.
More information on how to enter BirdLife South Africa's Birding Big Day, a full list of prizes and sponsors, and the entry form is available at www.birdlife.org.za.