For birders all over the world
In keeping with Tom Hince who posted his team's press release on their record-breaking Big Day, here is the release on our day. I must say the state will be filled with teams trying to break this record next year ! I can almost hear Victor Emanuel cranking up that airplane again...
New Birding "Big Day" Record Set for North America
On April 24th 2001, Ron Weeks, Bob Kemp, Giff Beaton, Adam Byrne and Dwight Peake teamed up to set a new North American record for most bird species found during a single calendar day. Weeks, a polymer researcher from Lake Jackson TX; Kemp, a homebuilder from Cincinnati, OH; Beaton, commerical airline pilot from Atlanta, GA; Byrne, an entomologist from DeWitt, MI and Peake, a physician from Galveston TX completed their "Big Day", as it is known in birding circles, tallying 258 species along a south Texas route.
Big Days are governed by a set of rules developed by the American Birding Association. Birds may be seen or heard; 95% of the bird species must be tallied by all team members. Ethical guidelines are also set ensuring that the events themselves do not harm the birds being counted.
In the end, all rules are enforced by the honor system. The sighting of 258 species beat the old Big Day record of 233 species also set in south Texas just seven days earlier (click here to read the Canadians' story) by a team from Canada.
In addition, it topped the previously longstanding record of 231 species set in 1978 by a California team in their home state. The team was able to break the record in such grand fashion due to an innovative route developed by Weeks last summer. Weeks stated, "No one before had ever successfully linked the Hill Country of Texas and its unique birdlife, including the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler and the Black-capped Vireo, with the Coastal Bend and its rich saltwater habitats and migrant-catching abilities."