In 2016, intrepid birder and Devil Ark founder John Weigel was on the adventure of a lifetime, as he raced across North America to beat the American Birding Association’s Big Year record for most bird species found in a single year. And though he was up against time, the elements, delayed flights, confused Customs officials and a small group of individuals also out to set a new Big Year record, in the end, he not only beat the former record by at least 30 years, but he came out ahead of every other birder attempting to set a new record!

We tracked John’s amazing progress through the year:

The stats are impressive. John found a total of 780 bird species, plus three provisional species (the Cuban Vireo, Pine Flycatcher, Common Shelduck). He found 111 rarities (ABA codes 3-5) and all 672 of the so-called common ABA species (codes 1 and 2).

Along the way, John raised awareness and funds for Devil Ark, which was developed by Australian Reptile Park, is the largest breeding program for the Tasmanian Devil on mainland Australia and one of Global Wildlife Conservation’s priority projects.

Read a Q&A with John and check out John’s blog for more details. Then show your support by making a donation to Devil Ark here or on this page below.

Birding for a cause

John with a Tasmanian Devil

John with a Tasmanian Devil

No stranger to marathon bird-chasing, John has twice set a ‘Big Year’ record for birding in his native Australia, using the opportunity to raise the public profile of Devil Ark, a large-scale breeding facility for the Tasmanian Devil and one of GWC’s partners. In recent years Global Wildlife Conservation has become a key supporter of the Devil Ark project, and is working with John during his North American twitch to generate awareness and support for the critically important conservation breeding facility.

Devil Ark and it is the largest, most successful, and most economical conservation breeding program for the Tasmanian devil. Global Wildlife Conservation become a partner to the Devil Ark program in the interest of preventing the extinction of the Tasmanian Devil.

Make a donation in support of this important work (select “Birding for Devils” under the “Please direct my donation to” dropdown):

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Additional GWC Projects in North America