Worldwide Green Birding Records


GREEN BIRDING BIG YEAR (365 day period, starting any day):

1) World: 618 species, Dorian Anderson, 2014, U.S.A. (**)
2) North America: 618 species, Dorian Anderson, 2014, U.S.A. (**)
3) Canada: ??
4) Catalonia: 304 species, Ponç Feliu, 2013 (G)
5) U.K. (Europe): 318 species, Gary Prescott, 2016, (F)
6) One state in the U.S.A.: 326 species, Mark Kudrav, 2013, California (G)
7) One inland state in the U.S.A.: ??
8) One county in the U.S.A., 302 species, Jim Royer, 2010, San Luis Obispo County, Calif. (G)
9) One inland county in the U.S.A.: 301 species, Ron Beck, 2013 Cochise County, Arizona (G)
10) Biggest percentage of birds on the official state or country list seen in one year: ??


1) World: 331 species, Scott Robinson and Ted Parker, Sept. 5, 1982, Cocha Cashu, Peru (G)
2) North America: 193 species, John Hale and Ron Weeks, April 18 , 2015, Texas (?)
3) United States Inland Green Big Day: 135 species, Steve Juhlin, Vicki Lang-Mendellhall, Don Mullison, Rhonda Rothrock, April 25, 2009, Southern Illinois (*)
4) Canada: 131 species, Dick Cannings, May 26, 2011, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia (G)
5) Europe: 182 species, Tramuntana Birding Team: Gerard Carbonell, Alex Comas, Joan Carles Gimisó, Ponçe Filieu, Deli Saavedra, May 1, 2014 and again May 1, 2015, Catalonia.
6) U.K., 144 species, Chris Mills and Nick Moran, May 17, 2011 (?)
7) South America: Robinson and Parker (#1 above)
8) Australia: 140 species, Hugh Possingham, Drew Tyre, Eric Dorfman, October ?, 1995, Adelaide area (G); 160 species, Liana Joseph, Tara Martin, Hugh Possingham, 2004, Brisbane (P).

C) GREEN BIRDING BIG FOOT HOUR (species on foot in one hour)

1) North America: 83 species, Peter Pyle and Steve Howell, Sept. 22, 1994, Farallon Islands, California


1) North America: 202 species, Mike Stiles, 2008, Los Osos, California (P)


1) World/Europe: 176 species, Aleix Comas, Jordi Sargatal, Deli Saavedra, Oriol Clarabuch, Gerard Carbonell, Joan Charles Gimisó and Ponç Feliu (Tramuntana Birding Team), April 20, 2017, Empordá area, Catalonia (walking 57 kms!)
2) North America: 151 species, Rich Stallcup, Susanne Luther (Susanne Methvin), John Luther, and Dick Erickson, April 17, 1976, Marin County, California (*)
2) United Sates Inland: 111 species, Eric Walters, May 15, 2013, Illinois Beach State Park, Illinois (?)
3) Australia: 128 species, Hugh Possingham, Liana Joseph, Chris Wilcox, Niclas Jonzen, Melissa Laidlaw, Date ?, 2005, Brisbane (*).


1) North America: 150 species, team "Exit Hero" (leader, Tom Reed), Oct. 12, 2014, Cape May Point, New Jersey
2) North America Inland Big Sit: ?
2) Canada: 93 species, team "HBMO Hawks", (leader, Justin Bosler), October 11, 2009, Amherstburg, Ontario
3) Mexico: 130 species, Mark Stackhouse, Oct. 10, 2015, San Blas, Nayarit
4) Europe, 113 species, team "the Undutchables" (leader, Ben Gaxiola), October 12, 2002, Rotterdam, Netherlands
5) U.K.: 84, team "Cliffe Birders" (leader, Don Taylor), Oct. 14, 2007, Kent County.
6) Africa: 80 species, team "Sijwa Sitting Cisticolas" (leader, Ethan Kistler), October 9, 2011, Kongola, Nimibia
7) Australia: 85 species, team "Queensland Questrels", (leader, Dawn Beck), Oct. 8, 2006, Brisbane
8) Asia: 73 species, Oct. 10, 2015, team "Oriental Darters", (leader Hanno Stamm), Siem Reap, Cambodia


1) North America: 366 species- ongoing (324 species seen by Peter Pyle), research residence, Farallon Islands, California; and 318 species, private residence yard list, Jim Stevenson, Galveston Island, Texas

Notations: (G) - no gas used, started from permanent or research residence; (*) minimal driving, no participant drove over 100 miles to the start or from the finish to their residence; (**) driving over 100 miles to the start or from the finish to home; (S) Scouting beforehand by car; (F) used a short ferry ride during count; (P) local (w/in 10 miles of home) public transportation, (?) unknown carbon footprint. No notations made for Big Sits.

(This list is biased toward the U.S.A. because that is where birders have submitted the most green birding records. Hopefully, this can be corrected over time with the submission from other parts of the world! New categories for other countries will be added as needed. A category for wheelchair green birding efforts will be added once such count data is submitted.)

Traditionally, a green birding record should entail the use of no hydrocarbons, but the use of public transportation, or a ride to the start or from the finish, still makes it much more green than driving the whole route. This list notes which green birding records used no gas and those which have some use of gas: to drive to the start from the counter's residence, or from the finish to the residence. It also notes which counts used local public transportation or a ferry ride. Given the carbon footprint, the use of airplane flights does not seem consistent with green birding, so green birding efforts where the counter(s) flew to the location and/or back are not included here. This list does not distinguish whether or not the use of gas for a count is technically outside the count period, since the point of green birding is to count without a carbon footprint (not just move it a short period before or after the count period.) Unlike the motorized big years, the green big years should be allowed to start any day of the year and finish at the end of 365 consecutive days. Otherwise, green birders who live in hard winter climates are penalized because of the difficulty of starting and finishing on a bike in a freezing snow-covered location. The prior use of a car to scout for a green big day is noted. Given the difficulty of knowing how each participant got to a Big Sit, no notations are made for Big Sits.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Green birding has developed as a way to bird that does not have a negative impact on the environment. Even when talk of global climate change was fairly new to most of us, some birders realized that the extreme driving and flying that a few birders undertake for big years and big lists, is detrimental to the environment. If a person really cares about birds, it seems inconsistent to be driving and flying thousands of miles to pursue birds (with the extreme carbon footprint of such efforts). The BIGBY movement that developed in Quebec was an effort to bird in a more environmentally responsible way and to encourage birding in one's local patch. This also fosters the study all of nature in the birder's local area, not just birds. It leads to a deeper appreciation of your local area and, hopefully, even preservation and restoration efforts there. In this way, green birding often leads to green naturalism and nature activism.

There are birding advantages to green birding. On a bike or on foot, birders can see and hear birds all the time, not just at stops or for fleeting moments through the windows of a speeding car. Green birders are able to stop at any time to see and study birds found en route, not just at pullouts. Consequently, more species are seen in less distance and green birding big day species totals are approaching the totals once only recorded on big days in cars, even though the distance covered in a day by bike is far less. 

Green Birding also still satisfies the competitive urge possessed by some birders. The sport of birding can be done responsibly. The Big Green Big Year,  "BIGBY," was soon followed by all sorts of variations on big green years for counties, states and countries. Birders started green big days, green big hours, county green lists, walking big days and big years. The Big Sit, which originated independently of this movement, was now seen also as a way to green bird. Birders could satisfy their urge to compete at various levels in a way that was not bad for the environment and which fostered a greater appreciation of birds and all nature in their local area. This has been further promoted by eBird, the online bird database developed by National Audubon and Cornell, with its local patch challenge. With eBird, birders are not only encouraged to bird locally, but to note nesting and seasonality of birds, important data for the study of birds and the effects of climate and habitat change.

Green birding has a physical challenge not present in motorized big days and big years. Top big days often involve over 100 miles of cycling over varied terrain, and big years can involve thousands of miles of pedalling. This additional challenge heightens the satisfaction of a successful big day or big year. It usually pushes those participants, who are able, to new levels of fitness. For those who are not physically able, there is the big foot hour and the Big Sit. A wheelchair category in the green birding records is certainly open for any of the green birding categories.

Last, there is a more spiritual side to green birding which becomes more evident on long bike rides. The birder on the road for a big day, and especially for multiple days, experiences the terrain, the weather, the sounds of the wind, birds, cars, and sees the effects of man on the terrain more intimately than those speeding by in a car. The birder starts to feel more like a slow bird moving from one location to another. The green birder is apart from the people speeding by and, like a bird, is also vulnerable to those cars and the weather. Days on the road aren't boring; the birder gets into into a groove after a few days: where the 60 to 100 miles (or more) on the bike feels routine. The bicycle birder achieves a different and satisfying mental state on the road. In the quest for birds the green birder becomes like a bird - totally in the moment.