GreenBirding got started in an organized way when “Bigby” was born in 2008 in Montreal and announced his presence hereabouts. Hundreds of birders from all over North America plus individuals on five continents registered …
GreenBirding now has its own dedicated website and GreenBirders can register their support at the following website. It won’t cost anything or commit you to anything – but simply having a list of the people who think this is something worth thinking about helps us to spread the word. Please check it out and discover what the buzz is about “Self-powered Birders, Birding Locally”
Visit the www.greenbirding.ca website for all the details – our Facebook page
- You are a birder, a lister, a twitcher, a watcher, a naturalist
- You are conscious of the effect that the pursuit of your interest in birds has on the environment – you know that you drive too much, for example
- You would like to get to know the birds of your local patch better than you do
- You can walk, cycle, paddle, row or ride
- Then, ipso facto, you are a GreenBirder?
In our understandable desire to see far away wild creatures in their natural habitats we have all expended energy and added to greenhouse gas emissions over the years. Many of us now find that this is no longer as acceptable as it once was and that, by wildlifing locally and travelling by human-power alone, we can minimise our contribution to climate change while really coming to know and appreciate the birds and other lives we live with and amongst.
This was the basic idea behind the original Bigby challenge, an exercise in carbon-neutral birding. BIGBY is a handy acronym derived from Big Green Big Year but now is simply a shorthand word for GreenBirding. Several hundreds of birders from countries all over the world have been exercising their muscles in recent years doing their self-propelled Big Green Big Years ….
Many Bigbyers share their experiences, by blogs and emails and a lot of them have made it abundantly clear that while everyone is having a lot of fun and some excellent birding keeping their annual Bigby lists, they are also discovering that, despite some initial scepticism, there is a lot more fascinating birding (and wildlife watching in general) to be done on our own doorsteps than many of us had suspected. We so easily overlook what is under our noses while we were heading over the hills and far away in a cloud of exhaust fumes.
So far local, carbon-neutral birding hasn’t solved the planet’s climate problems but it has served to focus us on something practical that we can all do to help. It has unveiled a wealth of unsuspectedly good birding on our home patches … in at least fifteen different countries and on five continents. After this initial years of enthusiasm we need to continue to share experiences, work to spread the word and try to draw other birders into the community.
GreenBirding is NOT a membership organisation, nor does it have any pretences to grow into one. No memberships, no fees, no pressure. We used to keep a register of GreenBirders and of your growing carbon-neutral bird lists and acted as a clearing house for information and also helped to put you in touch with other like-minded wildlifers but after the first couple of years (when we had several hundred names on our records) we found that most birders were happy to go and bird greenly without a need to record the fact. if there is enough interest we will open the lists again but until then we thank you for your interest and wish you well with your BIGBY. Your emails and ideas are always welcome, of course.
GreenBirding has two themes:
- Green Listing – keeping annual and life lists of birds seen near where we live/work without resorting to the internal combustion engine in seeking them out
- Promoting the idea of birding and wildlifing in general on our local “patches”. Helping people get to know what is under their noses. Many such people may well later take to listing as well.
We do hope you will want to join us and keep on GreenBirding in future years. We look forward to sharing experiences and helping other birders to join us in doing our little bit for the planet – and its birds.
BIGBY categories …
For the more competitive birders, several categories of green listing have been developed by the birding community …
Big Green Big Year (Bigby) – the total 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. At the moment the known record is held by Andy Kleinhesselink and Josiah Clarke of San Francisco in 2008 and stands at 295 species.
Walking Bigby – same as #1, but walking only. I don’t know the highest totals for this category.
Green Big Day – starting and finishing from home or your regular place of work, bird for a 24 hour day without using fuel. You may start or end somewhere else as long as you used no gas to get there or to return to home. Some cyclists for example have had over 160 species this way.
Semi-green Big Day – birding for a 24 hour day and using no fuel during the count period, but starting and finishing anywhere. Ted Parker and Scott Robinson had 331 species in Tambopata National Reserve, Peru, in 1982.
Big Sit – counting all the birds you see and hear in one day without moving from within a 17′ diameter circle.
Big Foot Hour – how many species can you find in one hour without using any gas – it is ok to get to the start point from home and/or return home from the finish as long as you don’t use gas on either leg. Keith Hansen and Peter Pyle had 83 species in Bolinas, California in one hour.
Note … since this idea started there have been discussions about the use of public transport on the grounds that no additional gas is expended when this is used to gain access to the count area. This is somewhat contentious and there are fervent arguments made by both sides. It’s up to you – the above categories are just suggestions, the individual birder makes his or her own rules.