Big Years ending, more starting up!

The start of a new year is a great time to look at all of the Big Years that were completed in 2015, and the new efforts that are just starting. There were some very notable big year efforts in 2015, and some equally

World Big Year

With 6,042 species, Noah Strycker not only passed the old record…he thoroughly crushed it and set a very high bar for future attempts. Read his blog on

However, Dutch birder Arjan Dwarshuis is already setting out to top Noah’s big year total, and is raising money for Birdlife Preventing Extinctions Programme along the way, hoping to top €100,000 for that program. Follow along on his attempt on Dutch Birding.

ABA Big Year

There were a couple big years happening in the ABA Area in 2015 but none were as closely followed or publicized as some previous years. Brandon Reo lists 736 for his 2015 list in eBird, Mike and Wendy Schackwitz both had 692 and Dan Gesualdo had 678.

2016 may be an exciting year, as Olaf Danielson is already blogging about his big attempt. He’s been scouting for this year for a while now, so it will be interesting to follow along with his progress. Read along on his progress.

Interestingly, his Olaf’s daughter is tagging along with him and doing a Junior Big Year while also blogging about it. From the blogs, it appears that she is finding all the good birds for her father!

State Big Year


David Sarkozy spent the past year sprinting around the rather large state of Texas picking up rarity after rarity, and ended up with 500 species in eBird, although 4 of those were not officially countable. This puts him at the #2 spot for big years in Texas, only surpassed by Lynne Barbers shockingly high 522 species in 2005. Read about David’s Big Year on his blog.


John Sterling also ended up with 500 species for California for 2015- 490 native species plus ten “countable” introduced species. This is a new record for California!


Lynne Barber is now in Alaska, doing a big year there. I don’t know what the official big year number is to beat, but ABA’s Listing Central has Scott Schuette at 272 in 2013. I am not sure where Lynne plans on posting updates, but she frequently blogs for the ABA blog and its likely that updates will appear there.


In the oddest entry of 2016, someone is doing what they call an Undercover Big Year. They are attempting to set a new record for their state while blogging about it and not letting us in on the secret of who they are. It will certainly be interesting to see how long it takes to track this mystery birder down.


Those are just a few of the Big Year attempts that took place last year and some more that are starting up in 2016, but I am sure there are many many more notable 2015 lists, and other 2016 attempts that are flying under my radar. Leave links to blogs in the comments if you have others we should all be following!