Bird-A-Day Challenge Begins New Years Day 2012

Whether you fancy yourself a serious “lister,” a novice birder, an outdoor enthusiast, or a hard-core competitor, you may be interested in a challenge that is about to begin when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve.

It’s called “Bird-A-Day.” The objective: Count how many days in a row you can find a “new” bird. (New = recorded for the first time in this game.) The rule: You must never repeat a species, nor go a day without seeing a new one. If you do, you are out of the challenge.

Last year, I tried this game. And let me assure you: It was tough. I live in the suburbs of New York City. If it weren't for a rail commute along the Hudson River, I would have fallen out of the game within the first few weeks. Fortunately, the Hudson is a winter haven for ducks and other waterbirds. The only other thing that kept me afloat for 80 days in a row was the common winter birds I could hear outside or see at my feeders, a long-weekend in Vermont, one trip to Florida, and frequent weekend excursions to nearby woodlots, marshes, and tidal areas.

This New Year’s, I’ll be setting out to find my first bird of the year. It might be an owl at a nearby park after midnight, or it may take me all afternoon on New Year’s Day to find some little rarity spotted within a reasonable driving distance of my home. (I’ll leave it to you to decide what defines “reasonable driving distance.”)

I will be blogging about the adventure here on “The Perch,” and posting daily Bird-A-Day updates and quizzes on Facebook and Twitter. Whether you join in, or just follow along, the goal is the same: Have fun!

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