Bird of the Day Challenge 2018

What is the bird of the day challenge?

This competition grew out of a friendly competition started in 2016 with a Sibley 365-day bird calendar. We challenged each other to see the bird-of-the-day on its specific day. It was a fun challenge, but the problem was that the calendar was ordered taxonomically, with ducks and grebes and grouse at the start of the year and finches and warblers and sparrows at the end. We wanted a competition that was phenological, such that the birds would be appropriate to the season. To that end, we designed our own 2017 Bird-of-the-Day Challenge calendar such that each day’s bird is picked randomly, but with a probability proportional to the likelihood that birdwatchers would see and report that species on that day anywhere in the continental United States. Due to popular demand, we continue to make a new calendar every year.

The challenge is designed to be fair and even, with no specific advantage given to any region or time of year, although we admit that areas with more bird species will likely have an easier time. But, that’s birding!

How to play?

Scoring is easy. Every day of the year has 1 bird. If you see the bird on that day, you get 1 point. Thus, there’s a maximum of 365 points to be accumulated in non-leap years. As for score-keeping: we make the calendar, but you play along at home. At the end of each year, we will collect everyone’s scores and post them (2017 scores coming soon!). We encourage all participants to put their sightings on eBird, and we also encourage participants to make their eBird profiles public, like this.

If you would like to be kept informed on updates, please enter your email address here:

The Birds for Each Day

The full calendar is below.
You can also download the calendar as a spreadsheet here,
or as an iCal or Google Calendar import file here.
For the archived 2017 calendar, as a spreadsheet, go here.

The “rarity” ranking is based on how probable (1) or improbable (5) each bird was to be selected for that day.

Day Species Rarity
January 1, 2018 Ladder-backed Woodpecker 3
January 2, 2018 Nuttall’s Woodpecker 3
January 3, 2018 Varied Thrush 1
January 4, 2018 Cooper’s Hawk 2
January 5, 2018 Lesser Black-backed Gull 2
January 6, 2018 Ruddy Duck 1
January 7, 2018 Tricolored Blackbird 4
January 8, 2018 Loggerhead Shrike 1
January 9, 2018 Blue-headed Vireo 3
January 10, 2018 Tricolored Heron 2
January 11, 2018 Black-crowned Night-Heron 1
January 12, 2018 Northern Gannet 3
January 13, 2018 Wilson’s Snipe 1
January 14, 2018 Harris’s Hawk 3
January 15, 2018 California Gnatcatcher 4
January 16, 2018 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
January 17, 2018 Golden Eagle 4
January 18, 2018 Little Blue Heron 3
January 19, 2018 House Finch 1
January 20, 2018 Red-shouldered Hawk 2
January 21, 2018 Eurasian Collared-Dove 2
January 22, 2018 Northern Pintail 2
January 23, 2018 Snow Goose 1
January 24, 2018 Red-headed Woodpecker 2
January 25, 2018 Lawrence’s Goldfinch 5
January 26, 2018 Marbled Godwit 4
January 27, 2018 Greater White-fronted Goose 2
January 28, 2018 Double-crested Cormorant 2
January 29, 2018 Black-billed Magpie 1
January 30, 2018 Pacific Wren 2
January 31, 2018 Spotted Towhee 2
February 1, 2018 Greater Scaup 2
February 2, 2018 Red-tailed Hawk 1
February 3, 2018 Canyon Wren 3
February 4, 2018 Northern Shrike 3
February 5, 2018 Downy Woodpecker 1
February 6, 2018 Cactus Wren 3
February 7, 2018 Mountain Chickadee 3
February 8, 2018 Lesser Scaup 2
February 9, 2018 Dark-eyed Junco 1
February 10, 2018 Red-throated Loon 1
February 11, 2018 Common Merganser 1
February 12, 2018 Great Horned Owl 2
February 13, 2018 Wood Stork 2
February 14, 2018 Chestnut-backed Chickadee 2
February 15, 2018 Bonaparte’s Gull 2
February 16, 2018 White-breasted Nuthatch 1
February 17, 2018 Pine Siskin 1
February 18, 2018 American Pipit 3
February 19, 2018 American Oystercatcher 4
February 20, 2018 Pygmy Nuthatch 3
February 21, 2018 Common Eider 3
February 22, 2018 Cinnamon Teal 2
February 23, 2018 Crested Caracara 2
February 24, 2018 Allen’s Hummingbird 2
February 25, 2018 Acorn Woodpecker 1
February 26, 2018 Limpkin 2
February 27, 2018 Lesser Goldfinch 2
February 28, 2018 Curve-billed Thrasher 2
March 1, 2018 Tufted Titmouse 1
March 2, 2018 Townsend’s Solitaire 4
March 3, 2018 Wrentit 2
March 4, 2018 Boat-tailed Grackle 1
March 5, 2018 Long-billed Curlew 3
March 6, 2018 American Avocet 3
March 7, 2018 Rough-legged Hawk 2
March 8, 2018 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
March 9, 2018 Mallard 1
March 10, 2018 American Black Duck 2
March 11, 2018 Yellow-headed Blackbird 4
March 12, 2018 Vermilion Flycatcher 3
March 13, 2018 Pine Warbler 2
March 14, 2018 Hooded Merganser 2
March 15, 2018 Common Ground-Dove 3
March 16, 2018 Brewer’s Blackbird 2
March 17, 2018 American Wigeon 1
March 18, 2018 Lincoln’s Sparrow 1
March 19, 2018 Monk Parakeet 4
March 20, 2018 Cliff Swallow 4
March 21, 2018 Great-tailed Grackle 1
March 22, 2018 Inca Dove 3
March 23, 2018 Couch’s Kingbird 2
March 24, 2018 Horned Grebe 2
March 25, 2018 Bufflehead 1
March 26, 2018 Great Blue Heron 1
March 27, 2018 Ring-necked Duck 1
March 28, 2018 Cedar Waxwing 1
March 29, 2018 Black Vulture 2
March 30, 2018 Mottled Duck 1
March 31, 2018 Brown-headed Cowbird 1
April 1, 2018 Black Oystercatcher 3
April 2, 2018 Abert’s Towhee 4
April 3, 2018 Neotropic Cormorant 4
April 4, 2018 Swamp Sparrow 1
April 5, 2018 Black-crested Titmouse 2
April 6, 2018 Blue-winged Warbler 5
April 7, 2018 Western Sandpiper 3
April 8, 2018 Louisiana Waterthrush 1
April 9, 2018 White-throated Swift 4
April 10, 2018 Ash-throated Flycatcher 3
April 11, 2018 Common Yellowthroat 2
April 12, 2018 Gray Flycatcher 4
April 13, 2018 Costa’s Hummingbird 3
April 14, 2018 Rufous-crowned Sparrow 5
April 15, 2018 Golden-crowned Kinglet 1
April 16, 2018 Oak Titmouse 2
April 17, 2018 White-crowned Sparrow 2
April 18, 2018 Black Phoebe 3
April 19, 2018 California Quail 3
April 20, 2018 Prothonotary Warbler 4
April 21, 2018 White-winged Dove 2
April 22, 2018 Redhead 2
April 23, 2018 Greater Roadrunner 3
April 24, 2018 Wild Turkey 1
April 25, 2018 Yellow-billed Cuckoo 2
April 26, 2018 Eastern Meadowlark 3
April 27, 2018 Summer Tanager 2
April 28, 2018 Common Tern 3
April 29, 2018 Gambel’s Quail 3
April 30, 2018 Lesser Nighthawk 4
May 1, 2018 Field Sparrow 2
May 2, 2018 Nashville Warbler 1
May 3, 2018 Black-capped Chickadee 2
May 4, 2018 Plain Chachalaca 4
May 5, 2018 Hooded Warbler 1
May 6, 2018 Wood Duck 2
May 7, 2018 Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
May 8, 2018 Belted Kingfisher 1
May 9, 2018 Eastern Towhee 1
May 10, 2018 Wilson’s Warbler 1
May 11, 2018 Warbling Vireo 1
May 12, 2018 Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1
May 13, 2018 Bay-breasted Warbler 2
May 14, 2018 Barred Owl 3
May 15, 2018 Ovenbird 1
May 16, 2018 Snowy Egret 2
May 17, 2018 European Starling 1
May 18, 2018 Broad-winged Hawk 2
May 19, 2018 Orchard Oriole 2
May 20, 2018 Magnolia Warbler 1
May 21, 2018 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
May 22, 2018 Red-winged Blackbird 1
May 23, 2018 Mourning Warbler 2
May 24, 2018 Black-chinned Sparrow 4
May 25, 2018 Acadian Flycatcher 2
May 26, 2018 Bobolink 2
May 27, 2018 Red-eyed Vireo 1
May 28, 2018 Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
May 29, 2018 Northern Waterthrush 2
May 30, 2018 Henslow’s Sparrow 2
May 31, 2018 Common Grackle 1
June 1, 2018 Dickcissel 1
June 2, 2018 Black-necked Stilt 3
June 3, 2018 Common Nighthawk 2
June 4, 2018 Lark Sparrow 2
June 5, 2018 Olive-sided Flycatcher 3
June 6, 2018 Purple Martin 1
June 7, 2018 House Wren 1
June 8, 2018 Long-billed Thrasher 5
June 9, 2018 Bewick’s Wren 1
June 10, 2018 Yellow Warbler 1
June 11, 2018 Band-tailed Pigeon 2
June 12, 2018 Yellow-throated Vireo 1
June 13, 2018 Great Crested Flycatcher 1
June 14, 2018 Rufous Hummingbird 2
June 15, 2018 Horned Lark 1
June 16, 2018 Blue Grosbeak 1
June 17, 2018 Eastern Whip-poor-will 3
June 18, 2018 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2
June 19, 2018 Brown Thrasher 2
June 20, 2018 Royal Tern 2
June 21, 2018 Clay-colored Sparrow 2
June 22, 2018 Indigo Bunting 1
June 23, 2018 Scarlet Tanager 1
June 24, 2018 Scaled Quail 4
June 25, 2018 Eastern Wood-Pewee 2
June 26, 2018 Black-headed Grosbeak 2
June 27, 2018 Phainopepla 3
June 28, 2018 Wood Thrush 1
June 29, 2018 Bronzed Cowbird 4
June 30, 2018 Mountain Bluebird 3
July 1, 2018 Bicknell’s Thrush 5
July 2, 2018 Swainson’s Hawk 3
July 3, 2018 Chipping Sparrow 1
July 4, 2018 Blue Mockingbird 5
July 5, 2018 Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
July 6, 2018 Green Heron 2
July 7, 2018 Northern Rough-winged Swallow 2
July 8, 2018 Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 1
July 9, 2018 Steller’s Jay 3
July 10, 2018 American Robin 1
July 11, 2018 Willow Flycatcher 1
July 12, 2018 Black Skimmer 3
July 13, 2018 Yellow-billed Magpie 5
July 14, 2018 Grasshopper Sparrow 3
July 15, 2018 Common Loon 2
July 16, 2018 Killdeer 1
July 17, 2018 Virginia Rail 3
July 18, 2018 Wedge-tailed Shearwater 5
July 19, 2018 Bullock’s Oriole 3
July 20, 2018 Least Sandpiper 1
July 21, 2018 Chimney Swift 2
July 22, 2018 Laughing Gull 1
July 23, 2018 Black-capped Vireo 5
July 24, 2018 Baltimore Oriole 2
July 25, 2018 Eastern Screech-Owl 4
July 26, 2018 Willet 1
July 27, 2018 Long-billed Dowitcher 3
July 28, 2018 House Sparrow 1
July 29, 2018 Carolina Wren 1
July 30, 2018 Clark’s Grebe 3
July 31, 2018 Western Kingbird 2
August 1, 2018 Black-and-white Warbler 2
August 2, 2018 Cassin’s Sparrow 4
August 3, 2018 Bell’s Vireo 2
August 4, 2018 Clapper Rail 4
August 5, 2018 Herring Gull 2
August 6, 2018 Barn Swallow 1
August 7, 2018 Song Sparrow 1
August 8, 2018 Verdin 3
August 9, 2018 American Kestrel 2
August 10, 2018 Ring-billed Gull 2
August 11, 2018 Common Goldeneye 5
August 12, 2018 Violet-green Swallow 3
August 13, 2018 Common Gallinule 2
August 14, 2018 Dusky-capped Flycatcher 4
August 15, 2018 Cassin’s Kingbird 4
August 16, 2018 American Crow 1
August 17, 2018 Pelagic Cormorant 3
August 18, 2018 Cattle Egret 3
August 19, 2018 Stilt Sandpiper 2
August 20, 2018 Lesser Yellowlegs 1
August 21, 2018 Osprey 1
August 22, 2018 Gray Catbird 1
August 23, 2018 Greater Yellowlegs 1
August 24, 2018 Black-chinned Hummingbird 1
August 25, 2018 Western Tanager 2
August 26, 2018 Pectoral Sandpiper 2
August 27, 2018 Upland Sandpiper 5
August 28, 2018 American Golden-Plover 4
August 29, 2018 Semipalmated Plover 1
August 30, 2018 Semipalmated Sandpiper 2
August 31, 2018 Swainson’s Thrush 2
September 1, 2018 Pacific-slope Flycatcher 4
September 2, 2018 Gila Woodpecker 4
September 3, 2018 Eastern Kingbird 2
September 4, 2018 Sooty Shearwater 4
September 5, 2018 Black-throated Sparrow 4
September 6, 2018 Carolina Chickadee 1
September 7, 2018 Least Flycatcher 2
September 8, 2018 Eastern Bluebird 2
September 9, 2018 Fish Crow 2
September 10, 2018 California Gull 3
September 11, 2018 Brewer’s Sparrow 4
September 12, 2018 Spotted Sandpiper 2
September 13, 2018 Lazuli Bunting 2
September 14, 2018 Yellow-breasted Chat 3
September 15, 2018 MacGillivray’s Warbler 3
September 16, 2018 American Coot 1
September 17, 2018 Purple Finch 2
September 18, 2018 Eared Grebe 2
September 19, 2018 Sanderling 2
September 20, 2018 Golden-crowned Sparrow 4
September 21, 2018 Turkey Vulture 1
September 22, 2018 Franklin’s Gull 4
September 23, 2018 White-eyed Vireo 2
September 24, 2018 Glaucous-winged Gull 2
September 25, 2018 Common Poorwill 5
September 26, 2018 Tennessee Warbler 1
September 27, 2018 Painted Bunting 2
September 28, 2018 American Redstart 1
September 29, 2018 White-throated Sparrow 1
September 30, 2018 Lapland Longspur 5
October 1, 2018 Prairie Warbler 1
October 2, 2018 Pileated Woodpecker 2
October 3, 2018 Horned Puffin 5
October 4, 2018 Brown Creeper 2
October 5, 2018 Anna’s Hummingbird 1
October 6, 2018 Flesh-footed Shearwater 5
October 7, 2018 Black-throated Gray Warbler 2
October 8, 2018 Yellow-green Vireo 5
October 9, 2018 Barrow’s Goldeneye 5
October 10, 2018 Western Bluebird 2
October 11, 2018 Bushtit 2
October 12, 2018 White Ibis 1
October 13, 2018 Red-necked Phalarope 3
October 14, 2018 Savannah Sparrow 1
October 15, 2018 American Goldfinch 1
October 16, 2018 Western Gull 1
October 17, 2018 Mute Swan 2
October 18, 2018 Northern Cardinal 1
October 19, 2018 Northern Harrier 1
October 20, 2018 Blue Jay 1
October 21, 2018 Merlin 3
October 22, 2018 Yellow-throated Warbler 3
October 23, 2018 American Tree Sparrow 2
October 24, 2018 Rusty Blackbird 2
October 25, 2018 Hairy Woodpecker 1
October 26, 2018 Pacific Loon 3
October 27, 2018 Northern Flicker 1
October 28, 2018 Say’s Phoebe 2
October 29, 2018 Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 2
October 30, 2018 Red-breasted Merganser 2
October 31, 2018 American White Pelican 2
November 1, 2018 Gadwall 2
November 2, 2018 Snow Bunting 3
November 3, 2018 Forster’s Tern 1
November 4, 2018 Western Screech-Owl 4
November 5, 2018 Northern Parula 5
November 6, 2018 Black-throated Blue Warbler 4
November 7, 2018 Piping Plover 3
November 8, 2018 Cassin’s Finch 3
November 9, 2018 Reddish Egret 4
November 10, 2018 Tree Swallow 3
November 11, 2018 Sandhill Crane 3
November 12, 2018 Ruddy Turnstone 1
November 13, 2018 Black-throated Green Warbler 4
November 14, 2018 Anhinga 3
November 15, 2018 Brown Pelican 1
November 16, 2018 Magnificent Frigatebird 4
November 17, 2018 Dusky Grouse 5
November 18, 2018 Great Egret 1
November 19, 2018 Surf Scoter 1
November 20, 2018 Fox Sparrow 1
November 21, 2018 White-faced Ibis 3
November 22, 2018 Winter Wren 2
November 23, 2018 Townsend’s Warbler 1
November 24, 2018 Trumpeter Swan 3
November 25, 2018 Hermit Thrush 2
November 26, 2018 Brant 2
November 27, 2018 Orange-crowned Warbler 3
November 28, 2018 Razorbill 3
November 29, 2018 Rock Pigeon 1
November 30, 2018 Black-bellied Plover 2
December 1, 2018 Mourning Dove 1
December 2, 2018 Western Grebe 2
December 3, 2018 Canyon Towhee 3
December 4, 2018 Northern Mockingbird 1
December 5, 2018 Pied-billed Grebe 1
December 6, 2018 Palm Warbler 2
December 7, 2018 Northern Shoveler 1
December 8, 2018 Common Raven 1
December 9, 2018 Marsh Wren 1
December 10, 2018 Red-necked Grebe 2
December 11, 2018 Great Black-backed Gull 2
December 12, 2018 Bald Eagle 1
December 13, 2018 Vesper Sparrow 3
December 14, 2018 Peregrine Falcon 2
December 15, 2018 Blue-winged Teal 4
December 16, 2018 Canvasback 3
December 17, 2018 American Woodcock 4
December 18, 2018 Green-tailed Towhee 4
December 19, 2018 Dunlin 2
December 20, 2018 Western Meadowlark 2
December 21, 2018 Green-winged Teal 1
December 22, 2018 Eastern Phoebe 2
December 23, 2018 Egyptian Goose 4
December 24, 2018 Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
December 25, 2018 White-tailed Kite 1
December 26, 2018 Sharp-shinned Hawk 2
December 27, 2018 Cackling Goose 2
December 28, 2018 Canada Goose 1
December 29, 2018 Ferruginous Hawk 2
December 30, 2018 Brown-headed Nuthatch 2
December 31, 2018 Pyrrhuloxia 3