I was working from the internet café during a windy day last week-end when I thought I was squinting again. “Did you see that bird? It has two tails!” my colleague Martin exclaimed entering the room a little later. I checked out the sighting: a racket-tailed drongo. The most surprising, graceful creature I have ever seen. Actually, I didn’t know much about birding before I got here. Since then, I’ve learned about the fallouts following a storm, the threats to bird migration and the ethics of the birder. As of yesterday, thanks to India’s cable tv, I’ve learnt from a Hollywood movie that birding can also be a competition.The 2011 comedy “The Big Year”, starring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson, is based on the non-fiction book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession by wildlife journalist Mark Obmascik. In North America a big year is an informal competition among birders to see who can see or hear the largest number of species of birds within a single calendar year and within a specific geographical area. In the film a British birder says “Only Americans could make birding into a competition”:
It got me wondering : could it influence birders in other parts of the World to start their own “Big Year”? Are there birding competitions where you live ? Are you dreaming of your own big year?