Birder's Guide

NOV 2013

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 32 of 67

Team Sapsucker Jessie Barry Andrew Farnsworth Marshall Iliff Timothy Lenz Brian Sullivan Christopher L. Wood T he quest to see as many species as possible in 24 hours is a test: a test of knowledge of bird distribution and identifcation, most obviously, but equally a test of the abilities to prioritize, schedule, and make changes. A test of how well you can work with everyone on your team—for 24 hours—after a week with very little sleep. Since we were teenagers, each of us has dreamt of setting the North American Big Day record. This year we had the opportunity to pursue this goal, coupled with a chance to raise funds to support bird conservation at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. With more than 100 collective Big Days under our belts, including two previous attempts at the national record in Texas, we were primed for our 2013 run. This year we found the perfect mix of ingredients: fnely tuned team chemistry that took advantage of each team member's unique birding skills, an optimal year with many late-lingering winter species overlapping with arriving migrants, assistance from many friends in Texas, excellent scouting efforts, and perfect weather conditions that generated a Gulf Coast fallout on the day. On our frst attempt at the national record in April 2011, we were thrilled to fnd 264 species, besting the old record by three species. A fat tire in 2012 Big Day Record November 2013 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy 31

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