Saturday, January 3, 2009

My First Real Try at "Bigby"ing!

For all of you who don't know what "Bigby" means, don't worry, I didn't learn about it until late in the year of 2008, which wasn't long ago. Bigby actually in an acronym, BGBY, for Big Green Big Year. That means that it is a green year of birding. In other words, the only birds you can count on your Bigby list are the ones you see walking, if cycling, or dog sledding, or horseback riding, or whatever, as long as NO FOSSIL FEULS were burned when seeing the birds. So, you can bike a mile from your principal place of work, or your home, and the birds seen, you can put towards your Bigby list. Also, the birds seen at your home count on yout list.

So this year I decided to keep a Bigby list, and today was the only day the weather allowed for some biking. I didn't bike far seeing the best spots were either fairly close, or really far away. I dug out my bike from at least 2 feet of snow(I should have put it in the garage), and made a test run down our quarter mile driveway. It passed, though in some spots the snow wasn't fully packed and I did fishtail a bit, but never fell. So, this morning I actually added 3 Bigby birds without even getting on the bike. I heard a Common Raven, and Dark-eyed Junco, and saw a White-breasted Nuthatch on my feeders. That brings me up to 10 bigby birds for the year, but the day wasn't over. After waiting for the glorious sun to stike my targeted spot, I hopped on the bike, and pedaled furiously through the loose snow of the driveway. On my way out, I saw a fairly decent sized flock of Bohemian Waxwings, and heard a couple Red Crossbills. Once out of the driveway, I was free of loose snow, and on to hard packed, slick snow of the road. Much quiter, but a bit more dangerous then the driveway. I stopped a couple times for photos of the beautiful views of the surrounding area.

On the other side of the road as the picture below

If you look down the line of reflections from the sun, that angle slightly right of center, where it crosses the trees, that is where my house is.

The "spot" was a couple of Aspen trees next to a very full Mountain Ash tree, down a little, quite drive, off the main road. This tree in the past month or two has had a nice assortment of winter berry-eaters, inlcuding both waxwings, and Pine Grosbeaks. Today was a different story, there was NO birds to be seen at the ash tree. Dissapointed, I pressed on down the quite road, which made a quick loop back to where it originally took off from the main road. On this loop, it wasn't so quite. EVERY house had a man, or man and machine plowing/shoveling snow. I stopped several times to listen for maybe a flock of White-winged Crossbills or the like. I heard nothing, but I was surprised to see a single Song Sparrow siting in a tree in someones front yard. That was Bigby bird number 13. With lightened spirits, I pedaled onward, hoping for another new addition. I got it later, as I finished the loop and was one to the main road. I stopped, like I always do, to listen for fly over birds. I heard an American Goldfinch make a pass, and it finally clicked. That was a COMPLETELY new year bird!! Number 54, not to mention Bigby #14. Fully happy, I rode just a short hundred yards when I encountered a new Bigby bird, a Mourning Dove, hurtling at me, zipping into the trees. It has turned out to be a good day, I told myself, even though I got no pictures of birds, I did get some new birds.

Almost to home, I stopped, again, to listen. This time I hear a flyby Evening Grosbeak in the same spot I have heard and seen them in the past. WOW!! Another Year bird, #55, and Bigby #16.

After resting up at home, and warming up my legs, I walked up the driveway an hour and a half before dark. I was suprised by some European Starlings, Bigby #17, and a couple Pine Grosbeaks, Year bird #56, and Bigby #18. Wow! 3 year birds today!! I was just thinking I was going to add a couple Bigby birds, but this was great!! Just a few moments after the starlings, and grosbeaks, I saw a bird fly up into the neighboors cottonwood tree. It was a juvenile Northern Shrike!! Great!! Another year/bigby bird!! #57, and #19. That was the end to a great day of local bigby birding!!

Align Center
My dog, Blackie, playing in all the fresh powder! I love it when she gets covered in snow!

Looking forward to CBCing tomorrow!!


  1. Sounds like you had a nice start to the year so far. Good luck on your Bigby attempt!

  2. Josh - I am writing a book about green birding and would like to use a short quotation from the above as the lead in to a chapter. Would you be prepared to give me permission to do so?

    Richard Gregson