Monday, August 18, 2008

Upcoming Event: The Big Sit!

Q:What's better than watching birds all day?

A: Well, I would say sitting on your "behindal region" and watching birds all day might be the answer.

And that, mi amigo, is where The Big Sit! comes into your life. The Big Sit is birding's most sedentary event.

But why do we need another birding event? I hear you say...

The Big Sit has many advantages of other birding events. Here are just a few:

1. Unlike most birding competitions, The Big Sit is non-competitive. Most Big Sit circles compete with themselves to beat last year's total or the circle's best-ever total of species.

2. You can do The Big Sit wherever you want to do it, as long as you stay inside of a single 17-foot diameter circle during the 24 hours of the second Sunday in October.

3. This is a worldwide event. Big Sits have been held in more than 20 countries.

4. You might be surprised how many people and how much gear and food you can fit inside a 17-foot diameter circle.

5. Oh yeah. The Big Sit is a FREE event.

Big Sitters in the Indigo Hill birding tower in 2006.

Just past the stroke of midnight on Sunday, October 12, 2008, The Big Sit will begin and during that day, more than 1,000 bird watchers will participate. Some circles will be run for all of the 24 hours—some for just a few. Birds will be tallied from Big Sit circles in backyards, in birding hotspots and even in some National Wildlife Refuges. Friends and birding colleagues will converge for the birds, the conversation, and the simple joys of being outside on a beautiful (we all hope) autumn day (in the northern hemisphere).

I'll be doing the Big Sit in the birding tower at my farm in southeastern Ohio. During the day we'll have a couple of dozen friends show up. The kitchen table will groan under the weight of the potluck food. Snacks ending in "os" (Doritos, Cheetos, Fritos) will be consumed by the pound. All manner of beverages will be consumed and the ensuing bathroom breaks will be carefully choreographed so as to maintain constant coverage in the Big Sit circle.
Scanning the afternoon skies for just one more species.

I've done Big-Sit-type birding in other places—as part of The Great Texas Birding Classic (which features a Big Sit category) and as part of The World Series of Birding (which uses The Big Sit rules and format but changed the name, for some reason, to The Big Stay). Those other events are very enjoyable, but nothing compares to the actual, real McCoy Big Sit which is held each October.

It's my favorite birding event of the year. And if we don't beat our all-time high score of 65 species this year, I'm going to try some performance-enhancing drugs in 2009.

YOU should do a Big Sit! It's easy. Just pick a birdy spot, gather some friends, register your circle on the official Big Sit website, and get ready for a great day of bird watching on October 12.

The official Big Sit website has past results, answers to frequently asked questions, places to upload your results (and photos), and lots of other info. The Big Sit! is a registered trademark of The New Haven (CT) Bird Club, the organization that formalized the Big Sit into an annual event.

The 2008 Big Sit is made possible with major technical assistance from its host, Bird Watcher's Digest, and through the generosity of The Big Sit's sponsors: Swarovski Optik NA, Wild Bird Centers of America, and Alpen Optics.

Happy Sitting!

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At 10:30 PM, Anonymous rmharvey said...

You should make an exception to your snacks-ending rule and be sure to include a box of White Cheddar Cheez-Its.

At 6:23 AM, Anonymous Jayne said...

And the Hanover Honey Mustard Pretzel Nibblers too.. yummy. Wish I could zip by for a sit and see all the beautiful birds on Indigo Hill. :c)

At 10:42 AM, Anonymous Rondeau Ric said...

Anne might be talked into making some of her special treats for the Indigo crowd.
I promise not to do my GBH dance this year.

At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Patrick Belardo said...

Damn, I'll be on a plane flying back from my Australia honeymoon. I guess it could be worse. Have fun!

At 6:52 PM, Anonymous behindthebins said...

The Big Sit surfaced today in my Twitter acct from someone in Europe, I think. I will be in SE AZ on a birding jaunt. So, birding yes, sitting no.


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