Posted on Sunday 23 March 2008

Terry Wright spied this Spruce Grouse in the Northeast Kingdom on 4/21/07. It was bird #106 for his Big Year.

How many birds can a person see in Vermont in a single calendar year? Terry Wright, of Essex Center decided to answer this question and spent most of his free time last year traveling all over Vermont looking for birds. Name a town in Vermont and Terry will probably have a bird and a story to go with it. Terry will give a talk and slide show of his “Big Year of Birding” adventures at the Warren Town Hall on Saturday March 29th at 7PM. The event is sponsored by the Mad Birders, the Valley’s own birding organization, and is free and open to the public.
Anyone can become interested in birds and one need not have years of experience to do a ‘Big Year’. While Terry has appreciated birds all of his life, until about 18 months ago his bird watching was casual and relaxed. Then in late May 2006 a very experienced birder took Terry under his wing and Terry began to look at birds differently. He studied birds and learned about their appearance, their songs, where they lived and how they behaved. Terry was inspired to do his Vermont ‘Big Year’, after he read a book entitled Kingbird Highway, in which Kenn Kaufman, a now famous ornithologist, describes how he quit high school at age 16 and hitchhiked back and forth across the country in the early seventies, doing a North American Big Year of Birding.
Terry’s favorite birds during his ‘Big Year’ were the ones that he came upon unexpectedly. Like the Black Billed Cuckoo, normally a shy and elusive bird, that just appeared in a tree right in front of him in the woods of the Northeast Kingdom and sang its heart out for a full fifteen minutes. In addition to learning a great deal about Vermont birds, Terry became acquainted with many people in the Vermont birding community whom he found to be amazingly friendly, knowledgeable and generous.
A 2007 Vermont Big Year of Birding featuring Terry Wright, will take place at the Warren Town Hall on Main Street in Warren, Vermont, just off Route 100 from 7PM until 9PM. The event is presented by the Mad Birders and is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information call 496-4730.

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