To join Greg on one of these tours visit BigYearTours.com or call 888-875-9453
The 2016 Big Year Tours with Wildside Nature Tours were a lot of fun and far more successful than I imagined. My original goal was for 500 species of birds, all in the Lower 48 States. But instead of doing an individual Big Year, I set out to do it with tour participants. And with everyone’s help, we pushed over the top with a final total of 545 species. And we helped raise a total of $27,000 for the American Birding Association’s Young Birder program!
I want to personally thank every one of our participants who helped each other in the field to see birds they’ve never seen before, lent a hand to those who needed help getting around, and were patient as individuals to promote the group welfare. It was a pleasure visiting so many of the place I birded during my own Big Year in 1998. And I want to thank Leica for the quality optics I used this year in support of our goals and the ABA Young Birders.
To those of you who missed a tour you wanted to go on or missed the year’s trips entirely, you have a second chance. We are doing this again this year! It’s not too late to sign up. Check out the upcoming Big Year Tours for 2017 here at bigyeartours.com. And you can still read blog posts from 2016 at bigyearblog.com.
This Big Year Tours plan was not a perfect one, but it was the best I could do with what times were available in my schedule in 2016. And really, isn’t this how everyone’s Big Years go? It’s all about being efficient and focused with the time you have.
Here is some winter reading for you—a summary of some interesting data for 2016. I certainly hope you can join us in 2017 for more cool birds, spectacular scenery, and tons of fun!
Only eight species were seen on every single one of our 11 one-week trips:
Great Blue Heron
(Did you expect Northern Harrier & Greater Yellowlegs on this list? And how could we have missed Mourning Dove on this list? Yep. Surprises for me)
More than half the number of species seen (52%–285 species) were encountered on only 1 or 2 trips. This means that the tours listed do an efficient job of picking up new species for the year total. And less than 100 species were seen on more than 50% of the tours.
Amazingly, about one third of the species seen (34%–184 species) were seen on one and only one tour of the 11 one-week tours. Following is a list by tour of one-tour-only sightings:
January – Southern California
January – Florida
April – Texas & Louisiana
May – Ohio & West Virginia
Cape May Warbler
June – Maine & New Hampshire & Vermont
South Polar Skua
June – Montana
August – Southeast Arizona
September – Bay Area California
October – Washington
October – New Jersey & Pennsylvania & Delaware
Northern Saw-whet Owl
November – South Texas – Rio Grande Valley