Wrap-Up of 2012 Big Year Birding
There were quite a few big years that took place in 2012. Here are the final results, so far as I was able to figure them out. Did I miss anyone? Please let me know in the comments. There were a couple of big years that I reported on back in June that I can’t find final results from and there were a couple of others that were happening that I never managed to find any details about at all.
Perhaps the biggest big year of 2012 was in Australia. A new Australian Big Year Record was set by John Weigel, who did his big year to raise money for Tasmanian Devil conservation. As of 15 December he had seen 744 species and it is unclear if that was his final total or if he added more since. The previous Australian Big Year Record was 720, set by Sean Dooley nearly a decade ago and immortalized in his book, The Big Twitch.
Josh Vandermeulen set the Ontario Big Year record with 344 species, breaking the record of 338, set by Glen Coady in 1996.
Anthony Collerton also broke a big year record, with 361 species checked off his New York State checklist, breaking the state record of 352 set in 2011 by Richard Fried. Anthony has the rundown on his big year here.
The birders who birded on a budget and did a Lower-48 Big Year, Renee Rubin and Michael Delesantro, managed to track down 654 species, amazing considering how little money they have spent.
Blake and Holly Wright hoped to photograph 400 species in the lower 48 this year and easily made it, photographing 432! Not only that, but they raised money for the Houston Audubon Society and the Katy Prairie Conservancy.
Mary Beth Stowe hoped to tick 350 species along the lower Texas Coast this year and came up a bit short with 332. She also did her big year to raise money, but in her case it was to help a youngster, Peyton Behrens, in his fight against leukemia.
A gang of four in Calgary did a combined mammal and bird big year across Canada, hoping to hit 400 bird species and 50 mammals, though it seems that they really want to hit a combined 500 species (with the catchy moniker “Fur and Feathers 500?). At 76 mammals and 431 birds they reached every single one of their goals!
Pat O’Donnell was hoping for 600 species in Costa Rica in 2012 and he was at 539 in June and easily cleared 600 but I am not sure what his final total was. Pat, let us know in the comments, alright?
Lynn Barber was chasing the South Dakota big year record of 332 and managed to smash it with 350 species. Interestingly, two other birders, including Scott Stolz, managed to top her! It looks like 352 species is the new South Dakota Big Year record but it is unclear to me if more than one person reached that number or even exceeded it.