In the spring of 2022, I saw a Palm Warbler on the Greenway while walking to work. Later that afternoon, I saw an Eastern Towhee in Copp's Hill Burying Ground (the inspiration for this site's logo). That got me thinking: How many different species of birds could I see in a single week without leaving downtown?
The answer turned out to be 27.
But this wasn't a competition. First of all, I was only competing with myself - and I didn't have a prior benchmark to try to beat. It was more like I was quantifying the pleasure of birding. And the quantification gave me a way to share the experience with others that resonated with them - especially non-birders: ("Wow! There are 27 different species of birds in downtown?")
This experience quickly turned into the inspiration for Big Day Boston. A few permits and a domain name later, here we are!
My favorite birding moments have been spotting a Brown Creeper on a tree in the Prado; or adding Surf Scoter to the list of weird ducks spotted in the harbor off Commercial Wharf; or watching kids watching turkeys or Barred Owls outside the Eliot School. I hope this "competition" brings some of the people that share this joy of birding together; and perhaps spreads this same joy around a bit.
I'll also admit that the idea that suburbanites have better access to nature has always irked me. This exercise hopefully helps dispel some of those conceptions.
Looking forward to seeing everyone in May. Happy birding.
- Adam Balsam, Organizer, Big Day Boston