I have been pressed to commit to whether or not a Green Big Year is in the offing for me during 2014 and I have finally decided to come off the fence and say yes, it is.

But I am also doing other big year-type things (not all necessarily bird-focussed) in 2014 so it will not be my sole interest. In the year to come I shall therefore be involving myself in the following exciting pastimes. For example:

  • A Green Big Year – that is tallying all the birds seen in the year when walking or cycling or kayaking from home. No internal combustion engines allowed. That means, realistically, local streets, the riverside between here and St-Annes, the Macdonald campus and the arboretum. Occasional self-powered ventures further afield but I won’t be there for the dawn chorus.
  • A Circular Big Year – all of the above but using the car to reach the father corners of my 8km diameter wildlife circle (see http://sparroworks.ca/wildlifing/?page_id=22 for an explanation).
  • The Patchwork Challenge. This is a new one and combines the above in a low-key contest with other birders. Hard to explain in a paragrapah so wander over to http://www.greenbirding.ca/index.php/patchworking/patchworking-challenge to find out more … and maybe to join me?

Busy enough by itself, but on top of that – and I can’t complain, this was a motive in deciding to retire – I will still be president of Bird Protection Quebec, I am beginning to rebuild the website (a huge one) for the McGill Bird Observatory and doing some other stuff there including documenting a “Year at the MBO”, the Arboretum always has events happening that I can get involved in helping with or organise and, of course, we have a garden in need of serious work this spring and summer and … well, I am sure there are even more things to do but I will take them on as they arise. Jean is into botany and needs photos to go with her catalogues of those (digital collecting). It’s a cliché for retired guys to ask how they ever found time to go to work but I am seriously thinking it is a valid question.

The “Year at the MBO” project will be particularly interesting. It involves taking photographs, a few videos, talking-head explanations of what’s going onsketch and building up a picture of a year’s research so that at the end of it there is an audio-visual resource for training and publicity purposes. Different bits can be used for different needs and presentations.

On the subject of Green Big Years … is this really the best name? Any ideas? I am tending towards putting less emphasis on the hard-line green aspects and more on the local patch birding as that appears to be the direction a lot of birders are heading.

  • BYOMP – Big year on my patch
  • BIMP – Birding my patch
  • GBY – Green Big Year
  • BIGBY – Big Green Big Year (the commonest term used to date)
  • LIBY – Low impact big year
  • LEBY – Low emission big year
  • SWOT – Silly waste of time
  • WaBY – Walking big year