A fun and easy green challenge for birders.

sasquatch-birderThere’s Big Days, Big Years, Big Sits and a dozen other challenges, green or traditional, that allow birders to pit their skills against each other … there are also plenty of birders who are just not competitive and who shrug and wander off into the woods pishing quietly to themselves and that’s fine. At the same time, there are also birders who would perhaps like to have a go but don’t have the time or energy it takes to get organized and do the thing properly for a whole day or year.

Enter the Big Foot Hour … also known, for obvious reasons, as the Sasquatch Hour (thanks Jane for the alternative name).

This idea was devised by the good people at Bird Protection Quebec as part of a suite of green birding challenges they are issuing to ALL Canadian birders during the “Canada Goes Birding” (“Canada célèbre les oiseaux“) phase of their centenary celebrations in 2017 … and if you haven’t heard of this yet, you soon will. It’s infinitely adaptable, however, and something any birder can do any time simply for the interest. It brings some focus to our walks in nature.

Simply put, to perform a Sasquatch Hour you just set off walking, anywhere you like, for 60 minutes and count all the species of birds that you encounter in that period. That’s it. Minimal planning, minimal scouting. Just an hour’s walking, tally up your list and go off for a beer or a coffee with your friends.

You don’t plan to take part in “Canada Goes Birding” during 2017?  Not an issue … do a Sasquatch Hour simply for your own interest and pleasure. Share your count on Facebook or your blog or keep it to yourself. It’s an enjoyable way to sharpen your skills, keep score and to set yourself a personal target. Choose your day, your hour and your location to suit your local birding conditions and to maximize your bird list. That’s all there is to it. What could be easier?

AND … There’s a good chance if you are reading this that you submit sightings to eBird or some other citizen science venture. You undoubtedly have a favourite personal birding patch that you visit often and study. So why not do a regular, say weekly or monthly, Sasquatch Hour and use it to keep track of the birds on your patch or walking route through the seasons and around the year? Standardizing the counts in this way makes them more meaningful.

Do a Sasquatch Hour in 2017 and then tell us how you get on.