The fourth annual Black Birders Week is May 28 through June 3. Originally created in 2020 as a response to the Central Park birdwatching incident and police brutality against Black Americans, the week features a series of online events that increases the visibility of Black birders and nature enthusiasts, and encourages diversity in birding and conservation. Organized by the Black AF in STEM Collective, the theme for Black Birders Week 2023 is Fly Full Circle: “to reflect on our past, honor our present, and spread our wings to look toward the future.”
The themes for each day are:
- Sunday, May 28: #BBW23RollCall – Introduce yourself using the hashtag #BlackinNature
- Monday, May 29: #BlackBirderCulture – Explore the historical & cultural connections between birds & Black folks
- Tuesday, May 30: #BlackBirdersSoFly – Showcasing the ways birds inspire our creativity
- Wednesday, May 31: #CalmTheFlockDown – Using the natural world to ground ourselves
- Thursday, June 1: #FreeAsABird – Share how birds can inspire you to be an advocate for Black liberation
- Friday, June 2: #FlockForce – How citizen science & community awareness can help birds and Black folks
- Saturday, June 3: #JustWingIt – Errbody can bird! Whether solo or with your flock, get out there and #JustWingIt!
Black Birders Week on BirdNote Daily
Black AF in STEM and BirdNote Daily have teamed up to co-produce a week of shows focusing on the stories of Black birders. Listen to them below:
Sunday, May 28: “The Red-winged Blackbird,” by Deja Perkins
The Red-winged Blackbird is the theme bird for this year’s Black Birders Week. Deja Perkins, who helps organize the event, introduces us to this species and what the bird represents to her and to Black Birders Week.
Monday, May 29: “The Robin Rescue,” by Adé Ben-Salahuddin
Adé Ben-Salahuddin reflects on an unexpected source of help when he was trying to save a trapped young robin.
Tuesday, May 30: “The Freedom Song: Harriet Tubman’s Barred Owl Call,” by Tasha Lawson
On the Underground Railroad, Tubman used the song of the Barred Owl as a signal to let freedom seekers know that she had arrived. Tasha Lawson was inspired to learn this hoot herself, in homage to Tubman.
Wednesday, May 31: “Lauren Pharr on Being a Black Field Biologist”
As a Black woman working as a field biologist in the rural South, Lauren Pharr faces higher levels of risk than her white colleagues. Lauren co-founded an organization called Field Inclusive that promotes the safety of people from marginalized backgrounds in the field.
Thursday, June 1: “Binoculars 101” by Dara Miles Wilson
A decent pair of binoculars can considerably enhance your enjoyment of birds. In this episode, Dara Miles Wilson — a naturalist with Montgomery Parks in Maryland — shares a crash course on how to use binoculars.
Friday, June 2: “Lilli Holden on Birding With Young People in Chicago”
While visiting various neighborhoods in Chicago to lead students on bird walks, Lilli Holden sees stark differences in access to nature, tied to the history of segregation and divestment in Black communities.
Saturday, June 3: “How the Woodcock's Journeys Connect Us,” by Marcus Rosten
American Woodcocks are Marcus Rosten shares how his involvement in a study of American Woodcock migration revealed how the woodcock’s epic journeys of this quirky bird connect us all.
See last year’s Black Birders Week content here.