Why a Green Big Year?

Why on earth would anyone want to spend countless hours on a bike just to count some birds? Well, I can’t answer that question for everyone who’s ever gone birding by bike, but here are my reasons for embarking on a Green Big Year:

1. To see lots of birds! 

Birds are beautiful, amazing, and show such a great diversity within the relatively narrow constraints of being capable of flight (for most species). Watching a bird being a bird never fails to deepen my appreciation of life. 

2. To challenge myself. 

I’ve already seen a lot of birds. Having a goal to see more in a particular area (Wisconsin) in a particular way (green) will ensure that I keep getting outside, enjoying the natural world, and pushing myself.

3. To enjoy a fun hobby while being kind to the Earth. 

Many of the birds I’ll see this year are under threat from climate change, and if I were to drive around to see them all, I would be contributing to their demise, just so I could go look at them for a few minutes. I’m not willing to do that. Although I’m going all-out this year, the nice thing about reducing your carbon footprint is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Every time you choose to bike or walk somewhere rather than driving, you’re making a positive difference – even if you still drive sometimes. Plus, it’s much cheaper than driving or flying everywhere.

4. I like biking. 

I like it much better than driving. I’m not sure if I like it better than birding… but this way I don’t have to choose between the two. I already bike most days of every year, but a Green Big Year will push me to bike even more, which means staying healthier – and getting to eat whatever I want!

5. Because it can be done!

You don’t need to burn an exorbitant amount of fossil fuels, flying around the world every week, to have an immensely satisfying year – or day, or lifetime – of birding. You don’t even have to drop everything in favor of birding (green or otherwise). I hope that the stories from my Green Big Year will help demonstrate that.

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