Birding makes big tracks in 2013 and bags young fans

Neil Hayward, right, meets Sandy Komito, the reigning North American champion in bird listing, on a pelagic trip off the California coast July 28, 2013. It was like a scene from the 2011 movie “The Big Year,” in which Owen Wilson, playing Komito, runs into two rivals on a boat while surreptitiously attempting to break his own birding record. On this trip in July, Hayward also bumped into his only other 2013 Big Year rival, Jay Lehman.(Photo: Courtesy of Neil Hayward)

If you want to know how big bird-watching is these days, check out this story in USA Today about its booming popularity and  Neil Hayward,  who  scoped out 750 bird species in 2013, setting a new record for what birders call the “Big Year” record.  Hayward is the new top-birder, passing Sandy Komito, who set a record in 1987 with 721 birds, only to beat his own record in 1998 with 748 birds, according to the story.

 “To complete his 2013 Big Year, Hayward, an ex-pat from Oxford, England, who lives in Cambridge, Mass., scoured 28 states and seven Canadian provinces, flew 193,758 miles on 177 flights visiting 56 airports, drove 51,758 miles, and spent 15 days at sea and 195 nights away from home.”

—USA Today—

Read more: Birding makes big tracks in 2013 and bags young fans.

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