Cornell team ties (their own) Big Day record
by Nate Swick
Big congratulations are in order for our friends at Cornell Lab of Ornithology who managed to tick 264 species of birds in one 24 hour period for the second straight year. The team, consisting of Chris Wood, Marshall Iliff, Andrew Farnsworth, Jessie Barry, and Tim Lenz, tackled a new route through Texas this year in hopes of besting that incredible number they put up last year, but car trouble put them off their schedule.
“We started our Big Day at midnight with a Yellow-crowned Night Heron at Brackenridge City Park in San Antonio,” says team member Chris Wood.
The next few hours unfolded according to the team’s meticulous plan. At daybreak, the Sapsuckers were in Uvalde, an area rich in Mexican birds. Though an expected Ringed Kingfisher refused to show, the team did check off a Rufous-capped Warbler—one of very few records ever in the state.
“Then we made the fateful decision to go for a Chihuahuan Raven at the Uvalde City Dump,” says the team’s Marshall Iliff. “We didn’t find the bird but picked up a nail and got a flat tire. Kudos to Garza’s Radiator Shop in Uvalde—they got us up and running again!”
Even so, a tie for the Biggest Day in ABA area history is nothing to sneeze at and by all accounts the team will return to Texas next year to finally crack the 264 barrier. Best of all, the effort looks to raise a quarter of a million dollars for bird conservation.
So congrats again to Cornell and Team Sapsucker for their incredible accomplishment. You can donate to Cornell Lab's bird conservation efforts here. Well done, guys!