Noah Stryker is the hero I didn't know I had, until early 2016 when I heard what he was doing- a world Big Year. Noah spent last year traversing the globe, pursuing his goal of seeing more birds than anyone had ever in the world- 5,000 species. Birding every day for 365 days, he shattered that number- seeing 6,042 bird species. He is an accomplished writer, photographer, and is a self-described "full-time bird nerd". This week I caught up with Noah at The Biggest Week in American Birding.
What's a question do you wished people would ask you about your Big Year?
I think people should ask how many people I went birding with during the year, and the answer is probably more than 300 or 400. I think that was a big year all in itself, meeting all of these people.
What advice would you give to young birders?
Start local, with your own yard or park near your house. Then try and find other birders around your area. Don't be shy about meeting older people!
What are your thoughts about how technology has affected birding?
There's definitely been a lot of positive impacts. The internet is having a revolution on not just how birders connect with each other but how people get into birding. That's true in the U.S. but it's really true in a third-world country where birding was never really a thing before 10 or 15 years ago. That was really cool to see, traveling around last year and hearing in many places "We didn't have birders until 10 years ago" - and now they have birding clubs springing up! The information is out there and people can find each other. That has had an impact on pushing birding from a first world activity into the rest of the world.
What bird was most difficult for you to miss?
The most crushing miss was in the Philippines, when I looked for the Philippine Eagle. It's very endangered and is spectacular. We spent 7 hours sitting in one spot waiting for this eagle to fly up and it never came out. I guess I'll have to go back!
My favorite word: Awesome!