Monday, September 10, 2012

BIGBY? What the heck is a BIGBY??

Several Montreal-area birders started doing a Big Green Big Year (BIGBY) in 2008. The basic premise of the BIGBY movement is to encourage birders to bird locally and reduce their carbon footprint. The BIGBY movement believes that it is not necessary to travel far and wide to have a satisfying birding experience.

I believe that birding locally can be very satisfying. There are more species out there locally than we might think. My BIGBY motto is: "If you spend a LOT of time LOOKING for stuff, you're going to SEE a lot of stuff." All we need to do is stay alert and pay attention to what is happening around us. The results can be very rewarding

In my case, I do what is called a "walking BIGBY", keeping track of the birds I see while walking from home. This year (2012) is the fourth year I've done this, starting out in southern Indiana (Bloomington) in 2008.

I started my BIGBY in an uninhabited two square miles of public land near my home. Part was grassland, the rest was wooded hills. In my first year of BIGBYing (2008) I listed 161 species. The next year I recorded 178 species.

I moved to Milwaukee (with the Lake Michigan shoreline a stone’s throw away) halfway through 2010. I wound up with 152 species on my 2010 Indiana list, and I had 193 species on my 2010 Wisconsin BIGBY list. I recorded 208 Wisconsin BIGBY species in 2011, my best year ever.
I've recently moved to New Jersey, and have the good fortune to live right next to the Rutgers University Ecological Preserve...400+ acres of woodlands in various stages of succession, plus some grasslands. I'm also very close to Johnson Park, with its 1-2 miles of frontage along the Raritan River. Good bird habitat! I'm in the process of tallying my New Jersey BIGBY checklist, and will report on that in a later post.

Here are a few informational items about BIGBYing:

BIGBY informational web page:
BIGBY newsletter:
BIGBY e-mail list:

And here are four brief articles I wrote about my BIGBY experiences for the newsletter of the Sassafras Audubon Society chapter in southern Indiana. Note: the URL takes you to the newsletter issue as a whole. You will need to scroll down to the applicable page number.

In My Backyard: Big Green Big Year Satisfies. The Leaflet (newsletter). January/February 2009. ARTICLE ON PAGE 5.

Big Green Big Year — 2008 Summary of Four Experiences. The Leaflet (newsletter). March/April 2009. ARTICLE ON PAGE 6.

Big Green Big Year 2009: It’s All About Location, Location, Location. The Leaflet (newsletter). July/August 2009. ARTICLE ON PAGE 8.

Green Birding 2009. The Leaflet (newsletter). January/February 2010. ARTICLE ON PAGE 8.