Birder's Guide

OCT 2015

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.

Issue link: http://bg.aba.org/i/574960

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Dorian Anderson Los Angeles, California bikingforbirds@gmail.com The 10°F air stung my lungs as I pedaled along the two-lane road into a deserted Salisbury State Park. At 6:00 a.m., there was barely enough light to differentiate the open beach and dunes on my left from the bay and tidal marshes on my right. As I cruised along, I did manage to glimpse a large, buoyant, white mass drifting silently and gracefully across the road. Snowy Owl had just become Big Year bird #1. A Big Year is essentially a huge avian trea- sure hunt. During this 365-day project, a birdwatcher tries to fnd as many species as he/she can within a particular area, often a county or state, between January 1 and De- cember 31. The truly enthusiastic operate at the continent level. In 2013, Neil Hayward tallied a record 749 species in the ABA Area. During this odyssey, Neil few 194,000 miles and drove an additional 52,000. Being that I would travel only by bike in 2014, I would threaten neither the species nor the distance benchmarks. I would, however, need to near- ly reinvent how a continent-wide Big Year is planned and executed. In selecting the bicycle as my method of transportation, I hoped my efforts would inspire people—bird- ers and others—to examine their own fuel consumption. I thought the bicycle would challenge me physically and mentally, and I fgured it would make for an amazing adven- ture. I was correct on all counts. There had been several notable bicycle Big Years (BBYs) before Biking for Birds. Josiah Clark and Andy Kleinhesselink both complet- ed San Francisco Bay Area BBYs in 2008 where they each recorded 295 species. In 2012, Jim Royer found 302 species by bike in San Luis Obispo County, California. Jim added 16 spe- cies from surrounding counties for a total of 318. 2013 saw two notable BBYs: Ron Beck tallied 301 species in Cochise County, Arizona, and Mark Kudrav saw 256 species in San Ma- teo County, California. Mark added 70 species from surrounding counties for a total of 326 species. At the time, Mark's 326 was considered the North American record. It is also worth not- ing that Malkolm Boothroyd, a Canadian teen- ager, and his family took a year-long bike trip that included Canada and the lower 48 states Roadside rest with a specta- cular view of the Big Sur Coast in Califor- nia in October. Photo © Dorian Anderson Rufous-backed Robin was the reward after an insane, 150-mile, one-way chase. Photo © Dorian Anderson Surprise! The author found this Black-headed Gull on New Year's Day in Massachusetts. Photo © Dorian Anderson 7 7 October 2015 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy October 2015 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy

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