Big Green Big Year

21 12 2008
Big Green Big Year

Big Green Big Year

Last year I managed the Connecticut ‘Big January’. Aimed at getting birders out in one of the more unforgiving birding months and to introduce a little friendly competition, the ‘Big January’ is designed to see which individual birder can see the most bird species over the month. I have taken part a couple of times but being away for the start of January last year a couple of local birders volunteered me to take over the adjudication process.

Listing, whether it be at your local patch, in your yard, across the state or around the globe continues to at least be part of the motivation for many birders. Of course driving up and down the state burning up fossil fuels is probably defeating the point for many birders who have their other eye on conservation issues. Well now I have the perfect solution for all those competitive listers who are also conscious of their carbon footprint in the form of a BIGBY or BGBY. The ‘Big Green Big Year’ is a big year that counts only birds that you can see a) by walking to find your birds or b) seeing birds when you are self-propelled: bicycle, canoe, kayak etc. You can also opt to do a public transport Big Year.

Details are on the following site,  it sounds like a fun and environmentally friendly bit of fun. I am going to do a self-propelled big year starting January 1, as long as I can dig my bicycle out of the shed and it’s still in one piece. I’ll post updates on how I am getting along. If anyone else wants to pick up the gauntlet and join me in this challenge drop me a line at It sounds like great fun and also is a good excuse for me to get some much needed exercise!

It seems like some Boston MA based birders have been giving it a go this year and are doing quite nicely indeed.



One response

22 12 2008

Hi Luke

Think this is a great idea. I know self propulsion is probably a lot easier to do in the UK where distances are not so great but if it encourages people to get on public transport more to get to places or think more creatively about self-transport, then it’s all to the good.

Also, it sounds like your own ‘patch’ at Allen’s Meadow has been very good to you bird-wise so thinking local is not such a bad thing…

By the way, just to remind you that in my dad’s day, when cars were not affordable to the common man, people used the bike to socialize and there were lots of local cycling clubs, especially in the industrial north of England, which would go out en masse to escape the cities for a Saturday or Sunday and experience the joys of the countryside. Why not a modern equivalent? ‘Meets’ for birders with bikes?

PS. Might I, humbly, recommend a British product that you can take on a train or a bus: The Brompton bike. It’s light, tough, you can fold it up and put it on any public transport – and it goes like the clappers. Here’s their site:

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