Green big days

A fun objective over the past few years has been to set new records in green big day birding.  This is a big day (birding midnight to midnight), trying to see as many species as possible without using fossil fuels.  Some people do this on foot, but a bike is often key to covering a broad swath of habitats.  Check out this site for some guidelines about what defines a green big day, or big year, or big sit.

Last Spring, Josiah Clark, Andy Kleinhesselink, and I were ecstatic to realize that we has set a new record for the US (and the whole northern hemisphere), by seeing 181 species in northern California.  A few weeks later we realized that a Texas team of Ron Weeks and John Hale actually tied that record as well, on the same day!

Our happy faces just after midnight, upon reaching 181 species in 24 hours by bike!

Our happy faces just after midnight, upon reaching 181 species in 24 hours by bike!

So this spring we’re at it again, with a revamped route with a lot of potential and some great new habitat.  We’ll see what happens.


2 thoughts on “Green big days

  1. Ron Weeks

    Well, how did you guys do? Our new Texas route looks good but we had no fallout weather during the peak migration window. John Hale and I tried it on May 1st and managed to get 175 species this year. If guys are talking 200 species you likely will bypass us. Thinking 190 is about the top end for our current route. Find it somewhat fitting we each had 181 last year.


    P.S. Also did a “Big Run” this January (all birds must be seen while running – no binos allowed). Had 84 species while covering 27 miles in 4.5 hours in Freeport, Texas. Likely don’t have your guys’ enthusiasm, but not bad for a 50-something!

    1. Rob Post author

      Hi Ron,
      We also couldn’t quite beat last year. We found 179 species, with our count suffering from a deficit of freshwater ducks and irruptive finches. Similarly, we’re guessing that 190 is about our limit in the current area (and with our human bodies). We’ve been thinking about trying a new area next year, like maybe San Diego.

      Yeah, it was awesome that we tied last year! I’d love to hear more about your route and your days. Cool “Big Run” as well!


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