Welcome to Big Year Birding a site devoted to Birds of the United States and Canada as seen through the eyes of Ethan and Ingrid Whitaker.
Ethan and Ingrid are training for a Big Year in 2025 when Ingrid retires. In the meantime follow Ethan’s 2021 Maine Big Year.
A Big Year is an unofficial contest to see as many species of birds as possible in a calendar year.
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Read about our trips to:
High Island, Texas is the Fenway Park or Wrigley Field of Birding . . . a place of tremendous bird diversity, but also a place where the community openly embraces the hordes of birders that descend on the small town each spring.
The Salton Sea, at 350 square miles (15 miles x 35 miles) is the largest lake in California, an environmental disaster and a great place to see birds. Located on the San Andreas Fault, has been alternatively: a fresh water lake, a saline sea and dry lake bed depending on the changing flow of the Colorado River and earth quakes. This cycle continued for 1,000s of years with the last “fill-up” occurring in 1600-1700.
The legendary Ash Canyon Bed and Breakfast. No longer operating as an Inn, the owner has dozens of feeding stations, chairs benches and bird blinds that birders can enjoy (for a $10 entrance fee).
Birding the Lower Rio Grande Valley, the southern tip of Texas on the Gulf side. Being 300 miles south of Houston, an entirely new mixture of species are found, influenced by the Rio Grande, its canals and tributaries . . . it’s an entirely new birding experience. So, with our winter birding options limited by school vacations (Ingrid is a 4thgrade teacher), we decided to head for Texas again.
Our San Diego Big Day – eleven straight hours of birding.
Plum Island, Massachusetts . . . it’s work hard to find a North American birding spot with a more diverse and attractive birding habitat. A nine-mile-long peninsula which combines a residential community, an ocean facing barrier beach, an extensive salt marsh, dunes, low scrub, maritime forests, grassy fields, salt and fresh water ponds. In simpler terms . . . it’s perfect.
We update our Big Year Birding Blog daily so check back often for new photos, and anecdotes