Monday, January 07, 2008

The Smallest Twitch...It's ON!

I love birding games, particularly anything with the word big in it - big days, big sits, big years. These days I don't have enough time or money to do birding in a big way, but I enjoy following the exploits of those who do.

A British couple, Alan Davies and Ruth Miller, are presently attempting to set the record for a world big year. Best of luck to them! To do so they will have to see over 3,662 species in 2008. You can wait for the book (I'm assuming there will be a book because there always is) or track their progress at

They started the year in southern Arizona, which I find slightly puzzling. It wouldn't have been my choice - I've never thought of Arizona as a prime winter destination. To me it's always been more of a summer place (in fact Michelle and I have been talking about possibly making a trip there in June). But their decision to go in winter appears to be an example of brilliant strategery, as George Bush would say. Considering all the neat birds they saw it looks like it paid off for them. Well played, well played indeed!

I'm also setting a birding goal for myself in 2008. I've decided to do a North American big year. What the hell, let's call it a world big year (I've got a passport I probably won't get to use, but it's there just in case...). My expectations are modest. Minimalist, actually. I have a full-time job, no money, and twins under one year old to care for, so the word "big" doesn't properly apply to my big year. Serious chasing is out of the question, and even on weekends I'll have little opportunity to travel. I'll have to do most of my birding at home, while commuting to and from work, and in those rare moments when Michelle doesn't know what I'm up to.

But like a paraplegic mountain climber or legless marathon runner, I won't allow obvious handicaps to prevent me from attempting the futile. No matter how few species I see this year I plan to declare victory and celebrate my accomplishment, as miniscule as it may be.

I'm gonna call my quest the Smallest Twitch, and you can follow my progress (or lack thereof) in this blog. I've already tallied a staggering 34 species in the first week. A Great Egret seen yesterday at Riverfront Park was #35, and proved once again that even the foulest pollution and noise won't keep ALL the birds away. So let the competition begin. Sandy Komito, you are on notice. Alan Davies and Ruth Miller - you have been served!


At 2:18 PM, Blogger Kathiesbirds said...

Larry of the Brownstone Birding Blog is doing something similar. I'm here in AZ and I think it's a great place to start birding since I've already seen a gray owl this year!

At 10:59 PM, Blogger Kathiesbirds said...

Oop! I meant a gray HAWK!

At 4:53 PM, Blogger Larry said...

Hey that's me!I wish you luck on your great quest.-I'm not much of a lister---yet-but I can understand the appeal.


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