Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Green Birding Categories and Records

There has been talk in birding circles about listing green birding categories for big days, big years, etc., but it has generally not been too specific as to what categories could/should be counted. I list the following categories just as a starting point for discussion. The ABA does not seem receptive and so I will try to put many of these categories on this blog. Please let me know if you know of high numbers for the categories listed (I list some numbers I am aware of).

1) Big Green Big Year (Bigby) – The number of species found in one calendar year without using any gas (walk, bike, canoe, etc.) and starting each birding trip at your regular residence or regular place of work. (See for details). The most I have heard of is 295 in a year by Andy Kleinhesselink and Josiah Clarke of San Francisco.
2) Walking Bigby – Same as #1, but walking only. I do not know the highest total for this. (Should #1 and #2 be combined?)
3) Public Transit Assisted Bigby – the same as #1, but the counter can use public buses, subways and trains. Should other forms such as ferries be ok? (Planes are not allowed.)
4) Green Big Day – starting and finishing from home or your regular place of work, bird for a 24 hour day without using fuel. Should you be able to start or end somewhere else as long as you used no gas to get there and to return to home?
5) Semi-green Big Day – birding for a 24 hour day and using no fuel, but starting and finishing anywhere. Ted Parker and Scott Robinson had 331 species in Tambopata National Reserve, Peru, in 1982. I do not know the exact date.
6) Big Sit – counting all the birds you see and hear in one day from a 17’ diameter circle. (See ) I would propose not limiting this number to the official big sit count date in October. Cape May had 146 species in a day on 10/11/09, but I don’t know if one person saw all of the species. Anyone know? They may also have had more in the spring.
7) Big Foot Hour – How many species can you find in one hour without using any gas – should it be ok to get to the start point, or home from the finish, without using gas (e.g. by foot or bike)? Keith Hansen and Peter Pyle had 83 species in Bolinas, California, in one hour.
8) Wheelchair Big Green Big Year – I have no idea what numbers have been achieved and would like to hear from birders.
9) Wheelchair Green Big Day – again I have no idea but would like to hear what birders have achieved here.

Any of these categories could be listed by state, country or continent.


  1. I have one question for the "judges". When I go backpacking, can I count the days I don't drive for my green year? I drive to and from the trailhead, but there are days with no gas used. I happen to count them, but not sure what the ruling might be.

    Mike Stiles
    Los Osos

  2. I am all for Green Birding and Green Birding Events. However, these events can only be competitive for those living in high bird count areas. What about Green Events where points are given for percentage of birds on the eBird local list for the area are observed by using similar rules. Birders could earn points for successful Green Birding. What about a combination that awards birders for Green Birding events and improving the local eBird database for their area?

  3. Good Points - some percentage system for birds seen versus birds in the area might be interesting. Birds seen on a big day after driving to the trailhead or other destination would be a "semi-green big day"? I appreciate the comments on the blog and by email. Thanks.

  4. Hi again Jim, Is there any entity recognizing or recording green birding records in any of the categories you've listed, or any centralized place (person, site, location) where these records are (can) be kept?
    If so we'd love to know where and have access to the stats, if not perhaps someone should start so that when ABA does start allowing them there will already be some on the books for people to work from.
    Perhaps your suggestions should be codified with this in mind.
    Love to hear back from you on this - Scott and Liam Huber, Forest Ranch, Ca.
    ps we'll be birding in Morro Bay this coming Weds, thurs and would be fun to bird with you! (530)321-5579, 805-771-9910

  5. Is there a list of specific Bigby rules? If you know of any, could you please post a link.

    A group of us are looking to answer the question: if you move from one city to another, can you transfer your start location to the new city? (I would think not) What if you would get yourself from your orginal location to your new location via green methods?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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