Like Jesus once did, Flycatcher Jen's blog has arisen from the dead to make the world a better, more Christian place. Well maybe that isn't entirely true, but I Used To Hate Birds is back, and it makes me feel a lot better about things. I was reading one of her new posts the other day and she mentioned an idea that struck a chord with me...she is starting to track birds she has seen within a 5 mile radius of her house in PDX. Her 5 mile list is quite impressive, definitely larger than mine, and features a number of Vague Runts. My 5 mile list, if I were to try to put it together, is not something I would relish in comparison. I just moved to my new place a few months ago, and my old patch (Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland) is not even in my new circle...what horeseshit. I don't even have any hotspots I check regularly in my new 5 miler. Good places like Ferry Point, Lake Merritt and Arrowhead Marsh are just out of reach...but I do have the Emeryville Marina, the Albany Bulb, and Tilden Park...it could be much, much worse.
But I digress. I am not about to start a 5 mile list...but how about doing a 5 mile Big Day? It's pretty much a lazy Big Day, which sounds extremely appealing. I'm down to bird more locally (I may not have a choice soon!) and it would be cool to actually check out a couple new spots. So, coming this January, Flycatcher Jen, This Machine Nate (in Austin) and myself will challenge one another to see who can bag the highest number of species within 5 miles of where they live in 24 hours. Simple. We are aiming to all do it the same day in order to make it more suspenseful, but rescheduling is allowed if someone is totally rained out.
What does the winner get? Bird books. I need more bird books, and if I win, each loser will buy me one. This is nerdy as fuck, yes, but at what point have I claimed I wasn't a nerd? The brand new Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Northern Central America would be an awesome pickup, and something like this would be cool too. Basically, FJ and Nate losing will directly result in me gaining more knowledge and sacred bragging rights, and that's just too good to pass up. Bring it on goddammit!