Date: 12/31/20 6:08 pm
From: Loyd, Kendell R <Kendell892...>
Subject: A Great Year!
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This year has been extraordinary in so many ways. Birding has always been a great way to escape the uncertainties of the rest of the world, and I hope that everyone found this to be especially true this year.

Last December, a friend and I were discussing county Big Years, and he helped convince me to do a Greene County Big Year. It had never been done formally, so I found the highest year list reported to eBird (235 species in 2017), and I set this as my goal.

Using eBird data, I ranked the 306 species that had been recorded in the county by the frequency of reports. I did this by month to help me pinpoint when the best times would be to find each species. I used a lot of satellite maps to locate habitat, and I had a lot of help from other birders!

I ended the year today having seen 262 species in Greene County, including 5 first county-records (Lesser Black-backed Gull, Laughing Gull, Red-necked Phalarope, Black Scoter, & Iceland Gull).

Throughout this year, I learned to love birding my county. Doing a county Big Year forced me to stay local and explore to find habitats for which I would normally need to travel. The decreased area allowed me to visit locations nearly daily, which led to me finding more birds. Plus, because they were close by, I was able to more easily share these species with my local birding community, and I was more easily able to see birds they found as well.

A Big Year is just a reason to push yourself to bird more and to learn more. Someone once told me, “You won’t see a bird if you aren’t out there looking.” So get out there: observe and keep learning. The cool part is that you get to define the goal for yourself. Whether it’s a county, a state, a backyard, a specific park, it doesn’t matter, the point is to continue learning and expanding your love for birding!

A big congratulations to David Haenni and Tommy Goodwin for their record-breaking years!

I wish everyone a great first-of-year bird in the morning! We will see if I keep my 3-year streak with American Crow...

Kendell Loyd
Springfield, MO

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