By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views
I don’t know how many of you have seen The Big Year starring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson. It’s about birders who try to see as many different bird species as possible in one year; I recommend it.
I also recommend following David Pavlik, a biologist, photographer and birdwatcher who is doing a different take on a Big Year. The Michigan native hopes to raise money to conserve rare birds by finding sponsors who will donate between $0.05 and $5 for every bird species he spots and photographs in 2013. At the end of 2013, he plans on giving the money he raised to the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), a leading U.S. bird conservation group.
ABC will spend this money on programs designed to save rare Hawaiian birds from extinction. Pavlik chose Hawaii after learning that Hawaii has been dubbed the “bird extinction capital of the world.”
While most of us think of Hawaii as a lush tropical state, ABC says that no place else on earth has witnessed the levels of bird extinctions that Hawaii has experienced. Since the arrival of Europeans to the Hawaiian Islands, 71 endemic bird species have become extinct out of a total of 113 that existed just prior to human colonization. Of the remaining 42, 32 are federally listed, and ten of those have not even been seen for up to 40 years.
Last year, Pavlik spotted more than 600 different bird species. “Photographing those species, however, is much more of a challenge,” he says. “By the end of this year, I hope to photograph 500 species or more.”
In order for a bird to “count,” it will need to be identifiable from the picture, he explained. Some species of birds are extremely difficult to identify without hearing them call or knowing the location where the photo was taken. He says he will post the location that each photograph was taken if it helps resolve those pesky identifications. He may also try to take video of birds that can only be identified by voice.
You can join him virtually on his adventures by visiting his website. You can also sign up and donate there too.