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Big Year Records Busted in 2015

Noah Strycker wasn’t the only person to bust a Big Year record this year. A number of birders in the ABA Area made serious efforts at their own state/provincial records in 2015, some putting up some impressive number in what was an impressive year for vagrancy in the ABA Area.

jsterlingCalifornia birder John Sterling set a record for a Big Year for the Golden State with an even 500, 490 of which were non-introduced birds. This breaks a record of 475 native set 20 years ago by Vernon Howe and tied last year by Curtis Marantz (who ended his year with 485 total).

Sterling wrote of his year on Facebook:

I achieved several goals including getting 226 county birds which put me over the 16,000 total tics mark (sum of all 58 California county lists– native species only. I also birded in all 58 counties while breaking the old record of 475 native species (including condor) that was set 20 years ago by Vernon Howe and tied last year by Curtis Marantz. My total was 490 native species plus ten “countable” introduced species to bring that number to an even 500. My last bird was Stilt Sandpiper at the salton sea yesterday. I missed well over ten native species by less than 24 hours but I did have my share of luck too

He was helped, no doubt, by a singularly amazing year in vagrancy for California, including Common Scoter, Dusky Warbler, Gray Thrasher, and other lower level rarities.

There were a number of near-records last year as well, including David Sarkozi’s impressive 496 in Texas (record 522), Sherry Lane’s excellent 340 in North Carolina (record 351), and Cheryl Huizenga’s great 308 in Idaho (record 318).

Congrats to everybody! And if I missed any Big Year records, or near-records for that matter, in the ABA Area last year, please let me know in the comments.

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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

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