More and more often, there is a need and desire to unite with nature, to feel a part of it, and to enjoy the time spent in nature honestly. That is why any activity related to the environment, animals, or plants is becoming increasingly popular. This happened precisely because there was no time left for feelings and self-satisfaction in the constant frantic rhythm of city life. And man, as a part of nature, gravitates towards the known and understandable.
Hunting, hiking, and observing the unspoiled helps us recover, feel emotionally stable, and satisfy our need for peace. Just imagine you are lying in a hammock in the middle of a wild forest; you can see the sun’s rays through the tree canopy, there is complete silence around, and you can only hear the rustling of leaves and the singing of birds, which, like meditation, helps you relax. In general, birds are fascinating creatures that significantly differ from the animals we see daily. That is probably why more and more people want to learn more about them and study their behaviour and changes depending on the day, season, or temperature. And if it was an ordinary desire earlier, a particular competition has been held for such an activity.
The Big Year. This is one of the most unique contests anyone can participate in. After all, the tasks are not ordinary, namely observing birds throughout the year. This competition has become quite popular among researchers and nature lovers, but like any competition, it requires high preparation. To win, more than desire is needed; you need knowledge about birds, their characteristics, and special equipment. However, let’s start at the beginning.
The history of The Big Year competition and its importance
The idea of creating The Big Year competition arose several decades ago thanks to enthusiasts exploring nature. There are thousands of different species of birds in the world, and most people do not even know about them. Therefore, the very idea of the competition was to interest people in the world of birds and show its diversity. After all, the essence of the competition is to see and observe as many species of birds as possible in one year.
The area, the specific species of birds you need to see, or the time of year don’t matter; the only thing that matters is how many different species of birds you’ve seen. Contestants can travel around the world in search and research of other species of birds while studying the entire ecosystem and becoming increasingly immersed in the fantastic world of wildlife. After all, when observing, it is impossible not to notice the beautiful scenery around.
Among the participants, you can hear incredible stories of adventures that befell them in search of unusual or unique species of birds, making the competition even more popular worldwide. Therefore, the mission of instilling love and interest in nature has been fulfilled. This is simply an incredible contribution to developing ornithology and knowledge about nature.
The process of preparing for the competition and how to win
Preparing for The Big Year is a natural art form because if you want to see as many species of birds as possible, you must first lay out a route. However, to avoid wasting time on constant transfers, the points on the road should be with several species of birds; they can be parks, nature reserves, or even some islands.
After all, this is how you can see more species. After planning where you will go for observation, you must combine all the points into an optimal route to spend the least time. However, to win this is not enough; you need not only to have a planned route and a sharp eye but also to study the peculiarities of the behaviour of birds and their habitat. After that, you will learn that some species are much more active at night and can only be seen at night, so if you want to win, you need to take care of a good night vision scope that will help you observe night birds.
Equipment required for bird watching.
Watching birds is quite a detailed and exciting job because we all know how quickly they fly away when they feel danger. This is why special equipment for observation in The Big Year competition requires careful preparation, so having it and being able to use it in different conditions can significantly improve your results.
The first thing you will need is binoculars, of course, to stay close enough, but also to see and record the species of birds. You will have a unique opportunity to observe them and study their nature and behaviour so that your research helps the development of science.
It is equally important to have a log of observations to note the place and time of observation, what species of birds were observed, the peculiarities of their behaviour, what they like, and so on. All this is done to create a general picture of each bird species for further scientific study and research. Well, of course, for the competition.
A photo or video camera is also your faithful companion in bird watching because photo and video recording of various types of birds together with information about them dramatically stimulates the development of science about them, but also adds understanding and a visual example of what a particular bird looks like, its colour, size and other features that help distinguish different types of birds.
The night is a particular time for the activity of some species of birds, so if you are interested in observing and studying birds around the clock, you will need a night vision device, namely a night vision scope. With its help, you will be able to expand the time of observation and searches and learn more about the nocturnal life of birds in different conditions, which will help in their study and understanding.
However, not all birds are happy when you get too close to them, so nothing more than a telescope will help you with this. However, a powerful night vision scope can also help you with distant observations. Its powerful zoom will allow you to zoom in on the image significantly, not only to see the bird but also to consider its features and body structure and, of course, to observe its behaviour.
All this equipment will significantly facilitate the observation process and speed up the process of studying different types of birds. But it is worth remembering that the most critical mission of this competition is to enjoy nature, to have absolute pleasure alone with representatives of birds, and to carry the values of the competition, contributing to the development of ornithology.
The Big Year is a significant, unique competition that allows ornithologists and naturalists to explore the diversity of bird species. This competition is the basis of the work of ecologists from all over the world who observe and study the records of researchers and protect bird species on the verge of extinction and protect them. It is an exciting journey into the depths of the wild, which promotes the enjoyment of the magical views of parks, forests, and water bodies that are habitats for various species, as well as a place for solitude and reflection on oneself as part of the tremendous natural mechanism.
For so many years of existence, the contest has seen many records in terms of speed of observation and the number of species, but its goal has always remained the same. The Big Year unites all people worldwide who aim to reveal and study the secrets of birds in their natural environment.
Every year is a real opportunity to test your capabilities and knowledge, use new equipment to beat your previous records, dare to extend your research time at night with the help of night vision scopes, and, of course, the opportunity to enjoy nature fully.
Thus, the contribution of The Big Year competition to ecology and ornithology is challenging to assess because each participant works for a common and great goal that unites them. Sometimes, at the limit of their capabilities, they continue to search for bird species worldwide, understanding the importance of their contribution to modern science. That is why The Big Year is not only a competition but also a common idea, a common goal that motivates us to move on, not to give up, and to contribute to wildlife research.