Rockjumper Tours

aba events

Dorian Anderson’s Biking for Birds Into the West

The last couple weeks have seen biking Big Year birder Dorian Anderson crossing the state of Texas, from the migrant rich Upper Coast to El Paso, where he bears down on southeast Arizona. So far he’s endured foul weather, flat tires, questionable food and at times uncertain lodging. But he’s also racked up 366 species of birds in just under 6,000 miles, and he’s looking to crash through the 400 mark by the end of the month in Arizona. Spirits are high, body fat is low, and he’s still got 7 months to go.

0504 Bike shadow smallerIt’s probably not hard to understand why someone would want to travel around the ABA Area looking for birds for a year, it’s the sort of pipe dream any number of us have undertaken after an exceptional day in the field. It’s what drives us to follow people like John Vanderpoel and Neil Hayward and Lynn Barber as they do this thing. But maybe lost in all of it is that fact that a Big Year is a truly grueling endeavor, even when your mode of transport is plane and car. Doing the whole thing under your own power requires an extra 30 or so degrees of difficulty. And while at times Dorian has expressed on his blog that he was worried about his mental well-being as he traveled solo cross-country, it’s nothing that some excellent birding can’t fix.


High Island was a high point in Dorian’s year, with migrants galore.

Where to next?

Barring catastrophe in my first 12 miles tomorrow, my first 900-mile crossing of Texas will be complete. It has taken just over 2 weeks of solid riding, and it feels incredibly good to have finally made it to El Paso. This stretch has been very challenging; The terrain, geography, and weather have all been very unforgiving. My legs are certainly tired, but am I in otherwise excellent physical and mental health. Tomorrow I will head north just 40 miles to Las Cruces, NM. From there, it’s west to Arizona in the following 2-3 days. I should arrive in the Chiricahuas on May 15. The birding will really heat up at that time! I should clear 400 species after a few days in Arizona.

Dorian is using this venture to raise money for The Conservation Fund and the ABA. If you can, throw him a few dollars to help him get down the road. And good luck in Arizona, Dorian!

The following two tabs change content below.
Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

Latest posts by Nate Swick (see all)

American Birding Podcast
Birders know well that the healthiest, most dynamic choruses contain many different voices. The birding community encompasses a wide variety of interests, talents, and convictions. All are welcome.
If you like birding, we want to hear from you.
Read More »




ABA's FREE Birder's Guide

via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Open Mic: How to talk about climate change as a young birder June 4, 2018 11:37
    One of the challenges in talking about climate change is the disconnect that people feel when hearing about things like sea level rise and their daily lives. Birders, young and old, can play a major role in bridging this gap. […]
  • Meet Teodelina Martelli, 2018 ABA Young Birder of the Year May 26, 2018 2:27
    Meet Teodelina Martelli, a 17-year-old homeschooled birder living in Thousand Oaks, California and one of the 2018 ABA Young Birders of the Year. […]
  • Meet Adam Dhalla, 2018 ABA Young Birder of the Year March 27, 2018 5:42
    Meet 12-year-old Adam Dhalla from Coquitlam, British Columbia, one of the 2018 Young Birders of the Year! Want to learn more about how you could be the next Young Birder of the Year? Registration is open for the 2019 contest now! ——– Q: Were you a birder before you started the ABA Young […]

Follow ABA on Twitter