Monday, April 9, 2012

Sports Illustrated - Big Day?!

Last week, after writing this entry on Sports Illustrated and birding, I received a fantastic email about another birding SI feature that was even more of a wonder to read. It was from the Chairman of the State Board of Directors of Connecticut Audubon Society, Steve Oresman. He told me that in the 1970's SI ran an article about an attempt by Joe Taylor, then President of the American Birding Association, and a group of (in my opinion quite intrepid and extremely talented) birders to break the big day record using an aircraft. Steve was a member of that group and spoke fondly of his teammates and their contributions to conservation.

I was actually able to find the article online in its entirety as it appeared on May 7, 1979. By Clive Gammon, it was titled "The Great Bird Bash" and described as:

A team of birders used a mechanical dragon and a plane to cover the Southwest in a try for a new 24-hour world sighting record, but, alas, the jet lagged and the warblers lammed

If that is not enough encouragement, I highly recommend you read it in full (and it is lengthy) in the SI vault here. It's incredible to me how recently Sports Illustrated had such pieces on birds and birding, and if you know of anything else, please email me.

We think we have it hard on big days now, driving around heavily scouted areas after days or weeks of other birders finding so many species and reporting them online...when you add in the aircraft, this was birding at the highest level of difficultly and ambition. Thanks to Steve for the article and everything he has done for conservation.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

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