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During the Covid-19 pandemic, people looked to the skies—searching for birds! Bird watching, also called birding, saw a huge boom in popularity in 2020. The hobby is perfect for social distancing because it can be done anywhere: in parks, in a backyard, or even on a balcony. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, more than 2 million observations were made on May 9 during its annual bird-spotting event called the Global Big Day. That’s the most ever made on a single day!

“Birds are everywhere and can be counted in suburban parks, wild areas, and cities. Scientists need the eyes of the world to collect information about where the birds are,” says David Bonter, co-director of the Center for Engagement in Science and Nature at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.