Day 129: Sign Language

Noah participates in a global big day in Oaxaca.

May 9, 2015, Teotitlan, Mexico — Today, several thousand birders around the world took part in eBird’s Global Big Day, birding simultaneously in dozens of countries to see how many species we could collectively record. The numbers are still pouring in, but, as I write this (at 9:00 p.m. Oaxaca time), more than six thousand birders have participated and the total species count is above 4,000. To see the latest, up-to-the-minute stats, check out

Eric, Jilly and I did our part by making a few birding stops on our way back to Oaxaca from the Atlantic slope today (a five or six hour drive straight through). We passed through humid forest, high pine-oak forest, and desert-like scrublands, and ended at dusk with a respectable 145 species of birds, mostly seen during brief stops along the highway. 

Between birding breaks, I had fun reading some of the Mexican road signs. The highways in Oaxaca are heavily posted with warnings and cautions, and some of these have been creatively modified by helpful passers-by. For instance, a black-and-white sign that originally warned “Camino Sinuoso” (“Winding Road”) had been slightly altered by someone to say “Camino Sin Oso” (“Road Without Bears”). My favorite one, “No Maneje Cansado” (“Don’t Drive Tired”), had been cleverly painted to read “No Maneje Casado” (“Don’t Drive Married”). Good advice!

Although we saw 145 species of birds today, just three were new for me this year: Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, and Dusky Flycatcher. After five days in Mexico, I’ve completely maxed out the specialty birds of Oaxaca, and not even a global big day can make new birds appear from thin air. Tomorrow, my last day in southern Mexico, could even be a zero bird day, and I haven’t had a zero day since January 3rd! Can the four-month streak stay alive?

New birds today: 3

Year list: 2462

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