After the global success of its inaugural year, Black Birders Week returns Sunday, May 30 through Saturday, June 5. Co-founded by Texas wildlife biologist and former TPWD intern Danielle Belleny, Black Birders Week amplifies Black nature enthusiasts through social media and daily events.
“It can be really lonely when you don’t see other people like you” enjoying and working in the outdoors, Danielle told Science News. She hopes to encourage more Black people to pursue careers in science and conservation.
This year’s event will showcase the ways Black people connect in the outdoors. The lineup includes nationwide birding events, livestreamed panel discussions and daily interactive themes.
The first Black Birders Week event was organized in response to an incident that transpired in New York’s Central Park in May 2020. Christian Cooper — a Black writer/editor who is an avid birdwatcher — had an unpleasant encounter with a white woman who was walking her dog while he was birding. When he asked her to leash her dog, she called the police. His video of the incident went viral and sparked a discussion about equality in the outdoors.
Wildlife biologist Danielle Belleny fell in love with birds at Texas A&M University—Kingsville and then had an internship at TPWD, which continued to foster her passion for wildlife. She graduated two years ago from a graduate program at Tarleton State University, where she focused on birds.
“Once I finished grad school, I connected with this group of Black scientists in a group chat,” she told The Casual Birder podcast last year. “We wanted to have a community and be there for each other. We wanted to share our experiences as Black birders and enthusiasts. The event that happened to Christian Cooper could have happened to any of us.”
Within two days, the dynamic group had the whole initiative organized. There’s even more to do this year, including posting to social media each day with these hashtags. Use them all year, Belleny says, to provide reassurance through community.
Sunday, May 30 - #BlackInNature
Share stories, favorite spots and activities. Describe what being in nature means to you.
Monday, May 31 - #BirdsOnMyBlock
Birding is a hobby anyone can engage with at any level. Use the hashtag in your tweets and pictures.
Tuesday, June 1 - #BirdsEyeView
Honoring the many identities and activities in the birding world and showcasing the diversity of who a birder can be and what a birder can do
Wednesday, June 2 - #LiferMemories
Share your best or favorite lifer memories, or if you’re new to birding learn what a ‘lifer’ or ‘life list’ is.
Thursday, June 3 - #SafeInNature
Highlight ways to stay safe when birding and working the outdoors.
Friday, June 4 - #OnTheirWings
Bridging the gap between the past, present and future. Introducing young up and coming birders. Share your own story or shine a light on a young birder in your life.
Saturday June 5 - #BirdsOfAFeather
Birds are everywhere. Highlight your endemic species and share your pics and lists.