The May Count is held officially on the second Saturday in May, with several additional counts on the following Sunday or the weekend preceding. Maryland birders have conducted this survey of the bird populations in the state in the first half of May for over five decades. By the second week in May, many of the species that nest in Maryland have returned to their breeding grounds and they are temporarily joined by an array of Warblers, Vireos, and other migrating species whose numbers peak in the state around this time.
Because species diversity is at its highest point, plumages are the brightest, and bird songs fill the air, there is no better time in Maryland to bird than the first half of May. If you are willing to slap on some sun screen and insect repellent, you will be rewarded with a great day of birding. More volunteers mean better coverage is achieved. For those who are interested in participating for the first time, each County has an assigned compiler, who can provide you with maps of territories that need coverage and pair you up with experienced birders who will show you the ropes. You will learn new spots to bird that you didn’t know existed. Being part of a group is really important since warblers are often fast moving and higher in the tree canopy so many pairs of eyes are crucial, especially for the novice. Please contact the May Count coordinator for more information or contact your local chapter coordinator to learn how you can help. A list of the most recent County Compilers is available below along with other resources for the count.
Remember that May 8th is also Cornell Lab’s Global Big Day, so any eBird checklist submitted for that day will be included in the Big Day totals. And it is a prime time to contribute to the third Maryland-DC Breeding Bird Atlas, too, which is now in its second year of collecting breeding bird observations.
2021 Compilers (PDF format)
2021 Checklist – AOU Order (spreadsheet format)
2021 Checklist – AOU Order (PDF format)