Happy New Big Year

Or, should I say, Happy Big New Year?

No, I think I was right the first time.  Happy New Big Year.

Anyway, this post is about both the 2013 New Year and a 2013 Big Year.

So, first things first.  Happy New Year!  I most sincerely wish you the health, happiness and prosperity you deserve in 2013 and beyond.  Thanks for your friendship.  If you are one of my family members, well, even if you didn’t pick me – you’re stuck with what God gave you.  Thanks for loving me in spite of myself.

Bluebird Annie, a Self Portrait

Bluebird Annie, a Self Portrait

And next, on to the Big Year.  Did you get a chance to see The Big Year?  It was a not-too-wildly successful nevertheless fun to watch comedy about serious birding competition.  Birding “competition”?  Is that where the comedy is?  Are you pulling my leg?  No leg pulling.  Serious birders often compete to see how many species they can observe in a given area in a given time.  They call a year-long competition a “big year”.  I know, I know.  I never thought of birding as a “competitive” sport.  Heck, I never even thought of it as a sport.  But, it is!  After a few years at it, I’ve amassed a small collection of sports gear to prove it.  I’m including a photo of me wearing / carrying all that gear on a hot bluebird monitor trail.

Okay, so … in the December birding club newsletter I read that my club declared plans for a 2013 Big Year competition.  Here’s my chance to take a stab at it!  Not being a natural-born competitor, um-m-m, I’m going to pass.  I had to think a long and hard 10 seconds to make that decision.

Here’s how the newsletter describes the club’s Big Year and competition categories:

“For those unfamiliar with this term, ‘Big Year’ is a friendly competition in which birders attempt to record as many bird species as they can within a specified area during the course of the year.”

 A full two pages of the newsletter were devoted to competition category details and rules conjured up by the Big Year Committee.  (It takes a committee to coordinate a Big Year?  I guess a Big Year is a really Big Deal!)

County Big Year – see/hear as many bird species in a specific county
Site Big Year – Large, Medium, Small, and backyard sites
Big Green Year – you have to walk or bike to the site
For Fun Big Year with the sub-categories, Most New Lifers (adding to the list of bird species seen during one’s lifetime), Most Field Trip Birds, Most County Forest Preserves Birded, and Most New Birding Friends.
eBird Big Year – for users of the eBird site.

I won’t bore you with the details and half-page of rules.  Email me if you want them.  😉

I’m not worried about missing out.  I have a few birding-related priories on my “Personal Big Year” list of 2013 goals.  I’ll keep you posted as I move along.

However you measure it,
here’s to your best year ever!

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8 Responses to Happy New Big Year

  1. I think birding, like most anything else, loses its allure when it becomes a duty or a chore… or a competition. I started to read the book on which the movie is based, and now am realizing I somehow lost track of it. So, I’ll have to revisit the bookshelf to find it again. And I’m still kind of wanting to see the movie.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Cheryl – Happy New Year to you too, and thanks for the movie tip ! We’re always searching for something non-violent, normal, and nice to watch before going to bed ! The Morton Arboretum often does that 24-hour bird count which has always sounded interesting….unless you are assigned to the group searching for night-time birds like owls 🙂

    Chris Patterson

    • Happy New Year, Chris! Yep …. you have to be out there in the cold at night to listen for the owls. You certainly can’t “watch” them in the dark. 😉 Would love to meet you at the Arboretum sometime.

  3. Deb Platt says:

    Happy New Year! I had no idea there was a comedy called The Big Year. I’ll have to see if I can rent a DVD or something. I realized that birders far more advanced than me count how many species they have spotted so far in a year… I had no idea that at least some of them were competing with one another. I don’t think I’m ready for that kind of thing yet either. But it was fun learning about it anyway.

    • As I mentioned …. it was not wildly popular …. it was easy to miss. And yes, it can get very competitive and political. That goes for the birds as well as the humans! Your local library may have the DVD. Good film for a snowy day in front of the fire with a bucket of popped corn. Have a great 2013 in Ohio!

  4. Cornel A. says:

    Happy New Year! Have a great 2013!

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