Big Day Boston 2023 Recap

By balsama, 9 May, 2023
Big Day Boston 2023 group photo

Big Day Boston 2023 is in the books! We had 113 participants from (at least) five states and collectively observed over 78 species - all within the confines of Downtown Boston.

And the winner is... Massachusetts-based birder Ingrid Messbauer!

Messbauer (iemess on eBird - login required) counted 35 species during the six hour event including a Purple Finch near Post Office Square that put her over the top and a Common Loon with a damaged bill that she's seen before. There was nothing particularly outstanding about Messbauer's checklist... just finding all the right birds on the day that it counted.

Big Day Boston 2023 winning checklist - Ingrid Messbauer - front
Big Day Boston 2023 winning checklist - Ingrid Messbauer (iemess) - front
Big Day Boston 2023 winning checklist - Ingrid Messbauer - back
Big Day Boston 2023 winning checklist - Ingrid Messbauer (iemess) - back

I also learned that Messbauer utilized the T (Red Line Charles/MGH → Park) during her outing... and I can't think of anything more fitting!

List of birders with 25 or more species sightings:

  1. iemess - 35
  2. MWantroba714 - 34 (team of 3)
  3. Audthangwhaddup - 33 (team of 2)
  4. eDougB - 32
  5. gofeet1825 - 31
  6. jhjDigBayAustin23 - 30 (team of 3)
  7. LISAC - 30 (team of 2)
  8. jamgen - 30 (team of 2)
  9. Make Way For Jennings - 27 (team of 2)
  10. siwany / HoodedMerg72 - 27 (team of 3)
  11. roblarsen - 27 (team of 2)
  12. aneighborhoodnaturalist - 26
  13. Mass Young Birders Club - 26 (team of many)
  14. mjrice04 - 25 (team of 4)

Full Results

Full results are available in this spreadsheet:
Big Day Boston 2023 Results

Of the 78 species observed, 26 were observed by a single birder or team. Conversely, there were five species that were observed by virtually all participants (European Starling, Rock Dove/Pigeon, American Robin, and House Sparrow).


  • Only one birder saw a turkey (which are pretty common in Downtown)
  • The fourth-place finisher didn't spot a single warbler
  • Chimney Swifts showed up the day after Big Day Boston - you can't go outside in the North End without seeing them now

Checklists by specoes
Percent of checklists that a species appears on. Species highlighted in blue appeared on the winning checklist.


Other highlights

One participant travelled all the way from Houston, TX to celebrate her 70th birthday participating in Big Day Boston! She was accompanied by family members from Palo Alto, CA and Flushing, NY! Happy birthday to the youngest septuagenarian at the competition!

TXBirder getting her honorary mention trophy
TXBirder receiving an Honorable Mention trophy for traveling from Texas to celebrate her 70th birthday at Big Day Boston

Another participant (aspiring ornithologist Ben) paused in the middle of the competition to participate in a previously scheduled soccer game (which he won) and still ticked off a very respectable number of species.

Ben receives his honorable mention award
Aspiring ornithologist, Ben, receives his Honorable Mention trophy

Additional images

(also, see the participant-submitted Event Reports for even more images - and don't forget to submit your own event report if you took part! Until next year, happy birding everyone!)