Friday, January 27, 2012

Big January 2012

One of the most exciting parts of the New Year for birders is starting a new list of species seen for the upcoming 12 months. However, some people take this up a level by participating in the Big January competition, a friendly and fun game to see who can spot the most species in the month. In the past, this was essentially left to each person to complete on their own, though in 2012 we have internet list servs, eBird, cell phones, and so many other ways to keep in touch and spread bird sightings around. This means average total is going up each year, and with a warm season like this one, I am guessing there may be some never before seen species in January in Connecticut.

This competition is not limited to a small group of elite birders - anyone can join in! Our friend Frank Mantlik usually moderates the event, but as he will be unable to this year, I have taken up the duties. Check out the 2011 results that we posted in the blog last year here.

If you have not heard about this, here are the rules as you may qualify even without knowing about it:
  • To qualify, one needs to have a minimum of 90 species for the month within
  • All species seen/heard need to have been counted on public property, your own
    property, or private property with permission.
  • Report your species list in the same order as the COA ARCC Official CT List:
  • Deadline for submission is Saturday, Feb. 4 at 10 pm. Send them to me here:
  • Digital photos you have taken, especially of rare species, are welcome.
    Note that smaller photo file size makes for easier/quicker emailing. Credit will be
    given on any photos used in the summary report.
  • Since this event is based on the honor system, please make every effort to be
    honest and certain of your identifications.
  • Provide the date and location for the first time each species was identified
    (optional, but encouraged).

I would also encourage everyone to think of conservation when birding this year. Instead of "chasing" down rare birds across the state every weekend perhaps you should see how many you could find in your own town, or at a given sanctuary or two. I have participated in some exceptionally exciting town competitions. You'll find a bird or two you never expected, a new patch to explore, and feel better for helping the environment and your wallet. Whenever I spend $40+ at the pump to fill up the car I think of how even donating the money saved from one tank a year from the thousands upon thousands of nature-loving Connecticut residents could help conservation in our state all while helping not pollute just a little more.

Remember, if you're participating in the Big January competition please send me your results by 10 p.m on February 4. If you do not qualify at 90 or more species but have a great sighting or wonderful photo please feel free to pass it along to me. Thank you and good luck!

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

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