Since 2010 some of our state's most intrepid bird watchers have shunned the use of fossil fuels for a cleaner pursuit of their hobby.
Green birding is carbon neutral and relies on human-powered transportation, such as walking, biking, or canoeing/kayaking. You gain a deeper appreciation of your local area, you reduce your negative impact on the environment, you are physically active, and you might even see more birds. Being out in the elements also means that you are surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature instead of confined to a motorized vehicle.
The concept of green birding has been around for many years. In 2006, a group of birders in Montreal, Quebec, decided to try for a "Big Green Big Year"- aka BIGBY- and issued a challenge to birders all over the world to join with them. More than 500 people responded.
In 2010, bird watchers Tim Vargo and Owen Boyle issued the challenge for Wisconsin. Now WSO invites you to join the BIGBY competition for 2016!
There are no official 'rules' to Green Birding other than minimizing your carbon emissions while in pursuit of birds. The goal is a zero-emission, carbon-neutral approach. Each birding trip must start from the same home base, such as your residence or place of work. Keep track of the total number of species found and self-propelled miles for one calendar year. Enter your sightings on the BIGBY spreadsheet. Revel in your accomplishment at the end of the year!
Want to know your competition? The current world record holder is Dorian Anderson with 618 species recorded in 2014.
In Wiscosin, the challenge has produced a different champ each year:
2014: Ross Mueller of Outagamie County iwth 230 species
2013: Alex Stark (La Crosse) 220
2012: Jesse Ellis (Dane) 215
2011: Dan Schneider (Dane) 240
2010: Scott Baughman (Sheboygan) 234
To join the BIGBY competition, email Wendy Schultz: email@example.com
To follow our friendly competition, go to wsobirds.org/bigby