A Little Big Year

For me, birding is mostly about enjoying birds and their behavior, but I can't deny that it's the game of listing that keeps me excited about birding year after year. Max and I keep life lists, state lists, county lists, neighborhood lists, state year lists and so on. Yes, we are nerds, in the best sense of the word.

Taking trips all over the state was great back when work was less intense and our dog was young and adventurous. Now we need a challenge that gets us home at night, but still gives us an opportunity to strategize and track down "new" birds.

This dog is worthless for birding.

I was inspired by our friend Jen's upcoming 5-mile radius list and upcoming big day to see what my own home's 5-mile radius looked like. I assumed it would just be neighborhoods and forested parks. Though it sounds silly, I sort of forgot how far five miles is. In our circle, Max and I get such hotspots as Koll Center Wetlands, Lake Oswego, a big swath of the Willamette River, Tryon Creek State Park, Oaks Bottom, Crystal Springs, and even a little bit of Forest Park.

So what is our Little Big Year Goal? I turned once again to Jen for guidance. She's at 184 all time in her circle, which includes a bunch of the Columbia River. She also got 136 once for a yearly motorless list. Somewhere in between there lies 150, a very nice round number. The number might get adjusted as we explore our circle, but we are excited to visit and revisit some local hotspots and find all kinds of "new" birds.

This Cedar Waxwing in our backyard is at the exact center of the circle.
 Aiding us on our little big year quest will be a new (little) spotting scope from Celestron, the adorable Hummingbird Micro Spotting Scope. Weighing in at 590 grams, the same as an imperial pint of beer, this tiny 9-27x scope will be easy to carry on walks. Can't wait until it gets here!

Hummingbirds love sugar!

Maybe this new challenge will even get us back into blogging again. If not, you can always find us on Twitter and Instagram @mustseebirds. Happy New Year!


  1. Great idea, and I'd been intrigued by Jen's posts, too. I should get out the map and explore Clackamas County, since most of my go-to spots are in Multnomah or Washington.

  2. You should! It's a fun exercise!

  3. I hope you get 300 birds for your tiny circle.

    1. I would be really happy with that! Help me find some rarities.


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