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A Big Year

There are lots of birds to be seen in a big year!
© Jim Fenton View Large

We're heading into a new year. A fresh chance to have what birders call a "Big Year," the ultra marathon of competitive birding. During a Big Year, a few obsessive birders race to see as many species as they can in a specified area. But you could decide to have a Not-So-Big Year, and just count the bird species seen in your yard. For a North American checklist, visit the American Ornithologists' Union. For a checklist by state, see USGS.gov.

Happy New Year and good birding, from BirdNote!

Full Transcript

Transcript: 
BirdNote®
A Big Year
Written by Frances Wood
This is BirdNote!
[Typical midnight, January 1 sounds – horns, cheers, Auld Lang Syne]

Ah, the New Year! A fresh chance to have what birders call a “Big Year,” the ultra marathon of competitive birding. During a Big Year, a few obsessive birders race to see as many North American species as they can between January 1st and December 31st. [Song of the Red-flanked Bluetail]

Actually, if you were serious about going after a Big Year, you’d have started planning months ago. You’d have researched where rare species are sighted. You’d have surfed the web for cheap airline tickets. You might have taken leave from your job, even mortgaged your house. You’d be kissing your family goodbye. And you would have spent New Year’s Eve camped in some remote location, waiting for early morning hoots from a rare owl, like this Boreal Owl. [Hoots of the Boreal Owl] 

It will take close to 750 species to be competitive. So you’ll travel to Attu, Alaska, hoping for rare Eurasian birds like Red-flanked Bluetail [repeat song of the Red-flanked Bluetail.]

And, you’ll search for a scarce Red-footed Booby in the Dry Tortugas off Southern Florida. [Call of a Red-footed Booby]
  
Or . . . you might decide to have a Not-So-Big Year. Perhaps you’ll just count the bird species seen in your yard. In that case, it’s definitely not too late to start.

We can help you find a checklist of birds of your area when you begin at our website, BirdNote.org. Have fun! I’m Michael Stein. 

###
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Boreal Owl call recorded by W.W. H. Gunn. Red-footed Booby call recorded by A.B. Vandenberg.
Song of Red-flanked Bluetail from Xeno-canto, recorded by F. Lambert. 
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2016 Tune In to Nature.org  January 2014/2016  Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# 010107bigyear2KPLU bigyear-02b        

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