A Bird In The Hand
Long time birder and Fremont science teacher (ret.) Terry Grabill and his wife Andrea have graced the pages of N3 with their articles on birding and as a bonus he allowed us to cover his Big Year in 2021.
For the non-birders among you, a Big Year is a personal challenge to identify as many species of birds as possible within a single calendar year and within a specific geographic area.
And Terry i.ded a boatload of birds.
On Thursday at 6pm he will deliver a presentation for the Newaygo District Library at the Newaygo City Council room.
We caught up with him for a little info.
“Andrea and I have never before been involved in "chasing " rarities. Our birding has been more location-oriented, meaning we go to places and see what we see. Kind of serendipitous birding.
“After sharing my birding obsession with my students for years and them goading me into considering a Big Year, I finally decided a Michigan Big Year would be my mission in 2021. “Andrea was onboard, fully aware that most things other than racing after rare birds would take a backseat for 365 days. Having not been mentored as a youth by a seasoned birder, I had no illusions of being competitive in the species count so I made a secondary goal of birding in all 83 of Michigan's counties. At least THAT goal was directly in my control.”
By the end of January, Terry was listed in the top 50 of Michigan's 26,000 ebird users. After running hard for four months, he stood at #1 in the state. All told, by December 31, Terry finished the race #1 in Michigan with a total of 323 species observed!
Since September 2022, he’s been busy sharing his Big Year story with several MI Audubon groups as far north as Sault Ste. Marie and south to the Michiana club near the Indiana border. Additionally, Terry has also teamed with occasional N3 contributor Charles Chandler to develop a Newaygo County Birding Trail that they hope to launch this fall.
Whether you are already an avid birder, developing an increasing interest in the ever growing activity or just someone who enjoys spotting the scavengers at your feeder Terry’s presentation will provide an entertaining and informative evening.
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