The Bird of the Day Challenge

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. 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 2017. As for score-keeping, this year is an experiment. We make the calendar, you play along at home. At the end of 2017, we hope to collect everyone’s scores and post them. Perhaps there will even be a prize to the highest score! 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.

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, 2017 Greater Scaup 1
January 2, 2017 Northern Harrier 2
January 3, 2017 Wood Stork 2
January 4, 2017 White-throated Sparrow 1
January 5, 2017 Barn Owl 4
January 6, 2017 American White Pelican 1
January 7, 2017 American Wigeon 1
January 8, 2017 Red-crowned Parrot 5
January 9, 2017 Trumpeter Swan 2
January 10, 2017 Red-shouldered Hawk 1
January 11, 2017 Phainopepla 3
January 12, 2017 Say’s Phoebe 2
January 13, 2017 Ruddy Duck 2
January 14, 2017 Abert’s Towhee 2
January 15, 2017 Green Jay 3
January 16, 2017 Eastern Phoebe 1
January 17, 2017 Golden Eagle 2
January 18, 2017 Wilson’s Snipe 2
January 19, 2017 Brown-headed Nuthatch 2
January 20, 2017 Bohemian Waxwing 4
January 21, 2017 Scott’s Oriole 5
January 22, 2017 Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
January 23, 2017 American Crow 1
January 24, 2017 Red-breasted Sapsucker 3
January 25, 2017 Spotted Towhee 2
January 26, 2017 Thayer’s Gull 3
January 27, 2017 Bufflehead 1
January 28, 2017 Bald Eagle 1
January 29, 2017 Henslow’s Sparrow 5
January 30, 2017 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 3
January 31, 2017 Eared Grebe 1
February 1, 2017 White-winged Scoter 2
February 2, 2017 Mountain Chickadee 4
February 3, 2017 American Kestrel 1
February 4, 2017 Great Cormorant 2
February 5, 2017 Willet 2
February 6, 2017 Wild Turkey 3
February 7, 2017 Great Horned Owl 2
February 8, 2017 Northern Shoveler 1
February 9, 2017 Sedge Wren 5
February 10, 2017 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2
February 11, 2017 Blue Jay 1
February 12, 2017 Northern Pintail 1
February 13, 2017 Burrowing Owl 5
February 14, 2017 House Wren 2
February 15, 2017 Wrentit 2
February 16, 2017 Harris’s Sparrow 3
February 17, 2017 Pine Grosbeak 3
February 18, 2017 Bewick’s Wren 1
February 19, 2017 White-crowned Sparrow 1
February 20, 2017 Fox Sparrow 1
February 21, 2017 Chipping Sparrow 2
February 22, 2017 Green Heron 4
February 23, 2017 Rock Pigeon 2
February 24, 2017 Couch’s Kingbird 4
February 25, 2017 Purple Sandpiper 4
February 26, 2017 Curve-billed Thrasher 2
February 27, 2017 Glaucous-winged Gull 1
February 28, 2017 Rhinoceros Auklet 4
March 1, 2017 Royal Tern 1
March 2, 2017 Great Kiskadee 3
March 3, 2017 Long-billed Thrasher 3
March 4, 2017 Chestnut-backed Chickadee 1
March 5, 2017 Cassin’s Finch 3
March 6, 2017 Northern Saw-whet Owl 4
March 7, 2017 American Tree Sparrow 1
March 8, 2017 Mountain Bluebird 3
March 9, 2017 Sandhill Crane 1
March 10, 2017 Turkey Vulture 1
March 11, 2017 Cassin’s Sparrow 4
March 12, 2017 Mute Swan 2
March 13, 2017 Peregrine Falcon 3
March 14, 2017 Laughing Gull 2
March 15, 2017 Greater Yellowlegs 3
March 16, 2017 Clark’s Nutcracker 4
March 17, 2017 Blue-winged Teal 1
March 18, 2017 Eurasian Collared-Dove 2
March 19, 2017 American Pipit 1
March 20, 2017 Lark Sparrow 2
March 21, 2017 Long-eared Owl 4
March 22, 2017 Dunlin 4
March 23, 2017 Ruffed Grouse 5
March 24, 2017 Eastern Meadowlark 1
March 25, 2017 Ladder-backed Woodpecker 2
March 26, 2017 Greater White-fronted Goose 3
March 27, 2017 Black-necked Stilt 2
March 28, 2017 Ring-necked Duck 2
March 29, 2017 California Thrasher 4
March 30, 2017 Roseate Spoonbill 2
March 31, 2017 American Woodcock 2
April 1, 2017 Carolina Parakeet 5
April 2, 2017 Little Blue Heron 2
April 3, 2017 Eastern Whip-poor-will 4
April 4, 2017 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 2
April 5, 2017 Brant 3
April 6, 2017 American Golden-Plover 4
April 7, 2017 Hooded Oriole 2
April 8, 2017 Cackling Goose 4
April 9, 2017 Least Grebe 4
April 10, 2017 Forster’s Tern 2
April 11, 2017 Mallard 1
April 12, 2017 Rusty Blackbird 2
April 13, 2017 Cooper’s Hawk 2
April 14, 2017 Northern Rough-winged Swallow 2
April 15, 2017 Canvasback 2
April 16, 2017 Hairy Woodpecker 1
April 17, 2017 Acorn Woodpecker 1
April 18, 2017 Lesser Nighthawk 4
April 19, 2017 Black-headed Gull 5
April 20, 2017 Yellow-throated Warbler 1
April 21, 2017 California Quail 2
April 22, 2017 American Coot 1
April 23, 2017 Yellow-headed Blackbird 2
April 24, 2017 Louisiana Waterthrush 1
April 25, 2017 Red-headed Woodpecker 2
April 26, 2017 Wilson’s Warbler 1
April 27, 2017 Brown Pelican 3
April 28, 2017 Boat-tailed Grackle 3
April 29, 2017 Scarlet Tanager 2
April 30, 2017 Wood Thrush 1
May 1, 2017 Osprey 2
May 2, 2017 Baltimore Oriole 2
May 3, 2017 Dickcissel 2
May 4, 2017 Gambel’s Quail 4
May 5, 2017 Gray Flycatcher 3
May 6, 2017 Black-capped Vireo 4
May 7, 2017 Great Crested Flycatcher 1
May 8, 2017 Magnolia Warbler 1
May 9, 2017 Common Merganser 4
May 10, 2017 Gray-cheeked Thrush 3
May 11, 2017 Wilson’s Phalarope 2
May 12, 2017 Bay-breasted Warbler 2
May 13, 2017 Yellow Warbler 1
May 14, 2017 Black-and-white Warbler 1
May 15, 2017 Northern Cardinal 1
May 16, 2017 Vermilion Flycatcher 3
May 17, 2017 Gull-billed Tern 5
May 18, 2017 Chestnut-sided Warbler 2
May 19, 2017 Willow Flycatcher 3
May 20, 2017 Short-billed Dowitcher 2
May 21, 2017 Oak Titmouse 3
May 22, 2017 Veery 2
May 23, 2017 Brown-headed Cowbird 1
May 24, 2017 Pine Warbler 2
May 25, 2017 Tree Swallow 1
May 26, 2017 Black-chinned Hummingbird 2
May 27, 2017 Grasshopper Sparrow 2
May 28, 2017 Black-throated Blue Warbler 2
May 29, 2017 American Redstart 1
May 30, 2017 Red-eyed Vireo 1
May 31, 2017 Least Bittern 3
June 1, 2017 Caspian Tern 1
June 2, 2017 Cassin’s Kingbird 4
June 3, 2017 Great Blue Heron 2
June 4, 2017 Lawrence’s Goldfinch 5
June 5, 2017 American Robin 1
June 6, 2017 Common Grackle 1
June 7, 2017 Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 5
June 8, 2017 Eastern Towhee 2
June 9, 2017 Lucy’s Warbler 4
June 10, 2017 Orchard Oriole 2
June 11, 2017 Kentucky Warbler 4
June 12, 2017 Pygmy Nuthatch 2
June 13, 2017 Bell’s Vireo 2
June 14, 2017 Plumbeous Vireo 4
June 15, 2017 Field Sparrow 1
June 16, 2017 Brewer’s Blackbird 2
June 17, 2017 Broad-winged Hawk 2
June 18, 2017 Ash-throated Flycatcher 4
June 19, 2017 Indigo Bunting 2
June 20, 2017 Western Kingbird 1
June 21, 2017 Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1
June 22, 2017 Heermann’s Gull 4
June 23, 2017 Red-winged Blackbird 1
June 24, 2017 Acadian Flycatcher 1
June 25, 2017 Herring Gull 2
June 26, 2017 Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1
June 27, 2017 Lark Bunting 5
June 28, 2017 Long-billed Curlew 4
June 29, 2017 Yellow-throated Vireo 1
June 30, 2017 Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 2
July 1, 2017 Bushtit 3
July 2, 2017 Green-tailed Towhee 4
July 3, 2017 Black-backed Woodpecker 4
July 4, 2017 Fish Crow 2
July 5, 2017 Virginia Rail 4
July 6, 2017 Cattle Egret 2
July 7, 2017 Marbled Godwit 4
July 8, 2017 Northern Goshawk 4
July 9, 2017 Black Skimmer 2
July 10, 2017 Common Raven 1
July 11, 2017 Verdin 2
July 12, 2017 Cinnamon Teal 3
July 13, 2017 Tufted Titmouse 2
July 14, 2017 Purple Martin 1
July 15, 2017 Great-tailed Grackle 3
July 16, 2017 Killdeer 1
July 17, 2017 White-faced Ibis 3
July 18, 2017 Purple Finch 2
July 19, 2017 Canyon Towhee 4
July 20, 2017 Warbling Vireo 2
July 21, 2017 Bank Swallow 1
July 22, 2017 Spotted Sandpiper 2
July 23, 2017 Black-headed Grosbeak 2
July 24, 2017 Lesser Yellowlegs 2
July 25, 2017 Rufous Hummingbird 3
July 26, 2017 Semipalmated Sandpiper 1
July 27, 2017 Long-billed Dowitcher 1
July 28, 2017 Broad-tailed Hummingbird 1
July 29, 2017 Blue Grosbeak 1
July 30, 2017 Northern Parula 3
July 31, 2017 Sanderling 2
August 1, 2017 Pine Siskin 3
August 2, 2017 Mississippi Kite 1
August 3, 2017 Yellow-breasted Chat 3
August 4, 2017 Eastern Screech-Owl 4
August 5, 2017 Belted Kingfisher 2
August 6, 2017 Pectoral Sandpiper 1
August 7, 2017 American Avocet 2
August 8, 2017 Least Flycatcher 3
August 9, 2017 Nuttall’s Woodpecker 2
August 10, 2017 Gray Catbird 1
August 11, 2017 Violet-green Swallow 2
August 12, 2017 Least Tern 1
August 13, 2017 Elegant Tern 2
August 14, 2017 Black-bellied Plover 3
August 15, 2017 Western Tanager 2
August 16, 2017 Least Sandpiper 1
August 17, 2017 Common Tern 3
August 18, 2017 Black Tern 1
August 19, 2017 White-eyed Vireo 2
August 20, 2017 Redhead 3
August 21, 2017 Common Yellowthroat 1
August 22, 2017 Tricolored Heron 1
August 23, 2017 Black Phoebe 2
August 24, 2017 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
August 25, 2017 White Ibis 1
August 26, 2017 Common Nighthawk 1
August 27, 2017 MacGillivray’s Warbler 3
August 28, 2017 Chimney Swift 1
August 29, 2017 Western Wood-Pewee 1
August 30, 2017 White-winged Dove 2
August 31, 2017 Philadelphia Vireo 4
September 1, 2017 Blackpoll Warbler 2
September 2, 2017 Cliff Swallow 3
September 3, 2017 Canada Goose 1
September 4, 2017 Eastern Wood-Pewee 1
September 5, 2017 House Finch 1
September 6, 2017 Northern Flicker 1
September 7, 2017 California Towhee 3
September 8, 2017 Northern Mockingbird 1
September 9, 2017 Black Vulture 2
September 10, 2017 Northern Red Bishop 5
September 11, 2017 Pelagic Cormorant 4
September 12, 2017 Allen’s Hummingbird 4
September 13, 2017 Bobolink 2
September 14, 2017 Barn Swallow 1
September 15, 2017 Eastern Kingbird 2
September 16, 2017 Golden-crowned Kinglet 3
September 17, 2017 Ovenbird 1
September 18, 2017 Yellow-billed Loon 5
September 19, 2017 Clark’s Grebe 3
September 20, 2017 Northern Waterthrush 2
September 21, 2017 Pileated Woodpecker 1
September 22, 2017 Hutton’s Vireo 4
September 23, 2017 Horned Lark 3
September 24, 2017 Great Egret 2
September 25, 2017 American Oystercatcher 4
September 26, 2017 Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
September 27, 2017 Nashville Warbler 1
September 28, 2017 European Starling 1
September 29, 2017 Piping Plover 3
September 30, 2017 Downy Woodpecker 1
October 1, 2017 Evening Grosbeak 2
October 2, 2017 Ring-billed Gull 2
October 3, 2017 Great Black-backed Gull 1
October 4, 2017 Black-crowned Night-Heron 2
October 5, 2017 Loggerhead Shrike 3
October 6, 2017 Orange-crowned Warbler 2
October 7, 2017 Swainson’s Thrush 1
October 8, 2017 Merlin 1
October 9, 2017 Tennessee Warbler 1
October 10, 2017 Worm-eating Warbler 4
October 11, 2017 Carolina Wren 1
October 12, 2017 Tricolored Blackbird 5
October 13, 2017 Black-billed Magpie 2
October 14, 2017 Brown Creeper 2
October 15, 2017 Winter Wren 2
October 16, 2017 Cape May Warbler 4
October 17, 2017 Gadwall 2
October 18, 2017 Western Bluebird 2
October 19, 2017 Mourning Dove 1
October 20, 2017 Wood Duck 1
October 21, 2017 Inca Dove 3
October 22, 2017 White-breasted Nuthatch 1
October 23, 2017 Semipalmated Plover 3
October 24, 2017 Painted Bunting 3
October 25, 2017 Common Gallinule 2
October 26, 2017 Steller’s Jay 1
October 27, 2017 Western Gull 2
October 28, 2017 Long-tailed Duck 3
October 29, 2017 Palm Warbler 1
October 30, 2017 Ring-necked Pheasant 4
October 31, 2017 Bat Falcon 5
November 1, 2017 Western Grebe 2
November 2, 2017 California Gull 1
November 3, 2017 Savannah Sparrow 1
November 4, 2017 Red-necked Grebe 4
November 5, 2017 Anna’s Hummingbird 1
November 6, 2017 Clay-colored Thrush 4
November 7, 2017 Western Sandpiper 3
November 8, 2017 Chestnut-collared Longspur 5
November 9, 2017 Dark-eyed Junco 1
November 10, 2017 Sandwich Tern 2
November 11, 2017 Western Meadowlark 2
November 12, 2017 Short-eared Owl 4
November 13, 2017 Hooded Merganser 1
November 14, 2017 Franklin’s Gull 4
November 15, 2017 Buff-bellied Hummingbird 3
November 16, 2017 Sora 2
November 17, 2017 Gila Woodpecker 3
November 18, 2017 Carolina Chickadee 2
November 19, 2017 Double-crested Cormorant 1
November 20, 2017 Swamp Sparrow 2
November 21, 2017 Bonaparte’s Gull 2
November 22, 2017 American Black Duck 1
November 23, 2017 American Goldfinch 1
November 24, 2017 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
November 25, 2017 Barred Owl 2
November 26, 2017 Rough-legged Hawk 2
November 27, 2017 Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
November 28, 2017 Black-capped Chickadee 1
November 29, 2017 Surf Scoter 2
November 30, 2017 Prairie Warbler 3
December 1, 2017 Cedar Waxwing 1
December 2, 2017 Eastern Bluebird 1
December 3, 2017 Townsend’s Solitaire 3
December 4, 2017 Golden-fronted Woodpecker 2
December 5, 2017 Hermit Thrush 1
December 6, 2017 Snowy Egret 2
December 7, 2017 House Sparrow 1
December 8, 2017 White-tailed Hawk 4
December 9, 2017 Common Loon 2
December 10, 2017 Pied-billed Grebe 1
December 11, 2017 Lesser Scaup 2
December 12, 2017 Greater Roadrunner 4
December 13, 2017 Anhinga 1
December 14, 2017 Black-crested Titmouse 3
December 15, 2017 Brown Thrasher 2
December 16, 2017 Snow Bunting 3
December 17, 2017 Green-winged Teal 1
December 18, 2017 Lesser Goldfinch 2
December 19, 2017 Lincoln’s Sparrow 2
December 20, 2017 Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
December 21, 2017 Vesper Sparrow 2
December 22, 2017 Red-tailed Hawk 1
December 23, 2017 Common Goldeneye 1
December 24, 2017 Snowy Owl 2
December 25, 2017 Cactus Wren 3
December 26, 2017 Golden-crowned Sparrow 1
December 27, 2017 Red-breasted Merganser 1
December 28, 2017 Horned Grebe 1
December 29, 2017 Northern Bobwhite 3
December 30, 2017 Summer Tanager 4
December 31, 2017 White-throated Swift 3