In 2015 we had a great time planning and executing an attempt to break the Big Day record for Mississippi. We planned an entirely new route starting in central Mississippi at the Ross Barnett Reservoir at midnight before heading south to reach the coast just before dawn. We then birded our way east along the Gulf Coast on our way to a total of 170 species. As with any new plan, we encountered a few inefficiencies, the most notable being a boat ride that used more time (and yielded fewer species) than we could afford. The route was otherwise a success.
The Big Day in 2015 was also a fundraising success. Supporters across the state as well as Wind Birders from outside Mississippi pledged dollar amounts per species to help motivate our race to set the record. Every species counts! That one fundraising effort made a substantial contribution to our annual habitat contracts. The habitat created with that money was also a milestone as we had literally thousands of sandpipers on our mudflats! In addition, we were able to use one of our contract sites as the field location for a regional workshop to help train managers of National Wildlife Refuges and Wildlife Management Areas from six states across the Southeast to better manage for migratory shorebirds.
So, the Big Day Team is back. All proceeds will support our habitat programs, and we hope interest in our Big Day attempt will raise awareness more broadly for migratory birds, from warblers to wading birds. Thus, our theme this year is “A Big Day for Birds.” With a few minor modifications to the route and a little luck, we are confident that we will break the record on our imminent second attempt. And, with your help, this year we’re ready to set two records: the Mississippi Big Day record and a new fundraising goal. Our fundraising goal this year is $25 per species.
Make your pledge HERE. Help us get to $25 per species, no pledge too small! We’ll do the rest.
Thanks again to all who have supported our efforts: by donating, pledging, scouting Big Day stops, attending our workshops, and cheering us on.
Good birding, Wind Bird Nation!