At the beginning of 2021, my brother Ron and I decided to embark on what we are referring to as an “Average Year”. This is essentially a scaled down version of what birders commonly refer to as a “Big Year” where the objective is to find as many unique bird species in a calendar year. The “Big” adjective is a bit daunting as neither of us have the extra funds or spare time to chase birds anywhere close to the 650+ low water mark of the upper echelons in the birding community – not to mention my own life list just crested the 300 mark just before we kicked off this adventure (link here). Through the course of the year, Ron and I took detailed stats as we steadily checked bird after bird off. That data allowed us to track our comparative progress so we could relish in each others successes. Who am I kidding, we’re brothers, it was all about the competition ha. That first year recently came to close bringing quite a shock to both of us. In spite of several setbacks over the year and in thanks to a late surge we both came surprisingly close to 300. I the start I remember telling Ron I thought 250 would be the high water mark for even overly optimistic prediction. Final numbers came in at 296 for Ron and an oh so close 298 for me. Initially, I was thinking this was a one and done endeavor and then go back to more casual birding. That was before the adrenaline rush of those final days to get to 300. So close and there were so many missed birds over the course of the year. After careful deliberation, soul searching, spiritual consultations and calls to online psychics … we’ve decided to go for it again in 2023. Like the first year, this will be a lot of fun and siblings pitted against each other tends to generate some great stories along the way. To be honest, when we are together in the field the competition part drops away and our efforts become joined – on our own though… well that is a different story hehehe.
We do have some rules for our friendly competition. First off all, almost all the rules from our previously established “Field Guide for Competitive Birder Rules of Engagement” (link here) still hold. For Ron’s sake, we did suspend rule 6 requiring a featured blog post to get the bird added to the count. After some initial debate, a photograph of the bird sufficient to confirm the ID is still required (rule 4), although, now a web gallery is not required (rule 20). Note, if we are both at the same place, see the same bird, but only one of us accomplishes a photograph, then the other person can use that other individual’s shot for the count. This gets rid of the caveats of one getting penalized for being at a bad angle or missed the shot due to pointing out the location to the other person etc. etc.. Unlike politics, we still strive to be civilized.
All of our 2022 stats, graphs and birding videos can be found in the links below as well as our progress in this year’s quest. Thanks to Ron’s Sliver program (link here), we are now able to provide a Google Earth based video of the places we bird throughout the year – super cool! I’ll update this periodically when he is able to generate a new video for us.
Average Year 2023 Quick Look:
Average Year 2023 Stats and Details – link here
Average Year 2022 Quick Look:
Average Year 2022 Stats and Details – link here
Yearly Comparisons – 2022-2023