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2016 Big Years: Non ABA Area edition

The birding adventures of John Weigel, Olaf Danielson, Laura Keene, and Christian Hagenlocher sucked up a lot of the air this year, but there were a number of other birders taking on Big Years in their states and provinces, many of whom set new records in 2016. Photos of birders gleaned from various web and social media sites. If you’d like me to include your photo, please let me know!

Our own former blog contributor and ABA Board member Lynn Barber set a new record for Alaska with 307 species, blowing out the previous record of 287. As many know, Lynn’s zest for Big Year glory is hardly limited to this year, she previously topped 700 in the ABA Area, and set a Big Year record in Texas and was one of three birders to pass the record in South Dakota before tackling the largest state in 2016. She chronicled this past year on her blog, which you follow retroactively.




We mentioned the Undercover Big Year a few times in the blog birding weekly feature here, and it’s author has come clean about his identity, and the record he set for Utah. Tim Avery saw 357 (+1 still pending) in 2016, passing his own record of 355 that he set in 2007. He managed to keep his undercover ploy going for the entire year, filling his blog with New York Times worthy puzzled bird names. I gave a little thought to who it might be and, more importantly, where he was birding and failed miserably. He deserves as much credit for keeping the game going for as long as he did as he does for finding so many birds.


Both Ryan Sanderson and Don Gorney are new co-record holders for Indiana. Both birders ended the year at 314, breaking the previous record of 313. Notably, they did not have the same 314 species on their lists, they shared 311 species.


In Tennessee, Victor Stoll set a new record of 309 species. The previous record was 307 and was considered for a long time to be untouchable.


In Quebec, Pierre Fradette set a new record with 311 species, breaking his own record.


Despite running a self-proclaimed “accidental” Big Year, Christian Artuso found himself setting a new record for Manitoba. His 304 was one past the prevous record of 303.

Congrats to the birders mentioned here. If there are any I missed, 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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  • Sarah

    Minor note – the Indiana record was previously 313.

    • Thanks for the clarification. I had heard 312 or 313, evidently the new record holders weren’t even sure. Nice that it isn’t relevant anymore!

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