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John Weigel and The Biggest Year: 366 Days on the American Birding Trail

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Birdlife Australia National Office

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60 Leicester Street

Carlton, Vic

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Special Guest Speaker: John Weigel and the Biggest Year: 366 Days on the American Birding Trail

BirdLife Victoria is glad to announce that our next guest speaker is John Weigel. John has displayed extraordinary energy to hold both the Australian and North American Big Year records. On July 13 John will talk about his amazing 366 days in the 2016 North American Big Year!

People connect with nature in all sorts of ways, from fishing and hunting to wilderness backpacking, scuba-diving, and back-yard gardening. For a small but growing portion of Australians, watching birds provides the preferred means of seeking sanity outside an insane human world. After becoming familiar with the birds in their local haunts, many birders travel to increasingly distant locations in search of ‘new’ species. Their transition from birder to ‘twitcher’ can be subtle – but becomes undeniable when, after reducing the list of potential target species in their outer search areas, they exhibit increasingly loud and embarrassing displays of celebration with every ongoing hard-fought success.

At the silly end of the birding-twitching spectrum are those individuals who keep a close eye out for rare bird reports, ever ready to book expensive last-minute flights for wayward migrants. Between twitches, these people tend to devote their holiday leave time and financial reserves to positioning themselves in the right places, at what they hope will be the right times – be it at sea or at remote outlier migrant traps, to add a single bird species to their life-lists. The worst offenders are known to take their indulgent bird-seeking behaviour even further. Every New Year’s Day, all over the world, a subset of lunatics embark upon year-long missions to find as many bird species as they can within defined geographic areas. These are Big Year birders. Big Years are personal missions that can be conducted anywhere – from a birder’s own back yard or favorite local park, to an entire State or Country. Without doubt, the best known of these challenges is the American Birding Association’s North American Big Year. It’s a self-contested pursuit that has been recounted in many entertaining books and blogs, and perhaps most widely in the 2011 Hollywood movie The Big Year.

Guest speaker John Weigel has a special insight into the absurdity of Big Year birding – having squeezed three absolute whoppers into a five-year period (Australia 2012 & 2014; North America 2016). John will share some of his most memorable ABA Big Year experiences, supplemented by his somewhat less memorable photography. He might even attempt to explain what could drive an outwardly normal-appearing Australian to do such an abnormal thing.

In order to guarantee your place at this wonderful event, please book online via this website. Entrance to the event is a gold coin donation, with all the money raised going to the development of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) - Nature’s Hotspots.


If you have any questions about this fantastic talk please contact Tim Dolby, email timothy.dolby@rmit.edu.au

Birdlife Australia


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Birdlife Australia National Office

Green Building

60 Leicester Street

Carlton, Vic

Australia

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