Hello! I am Thomas O'Connor, and this blog is where I will record my birding adventures.  Starting in September 2020, I am doing a little Big Year. A "Big Year" is a birding term meaning that a birder is going to try to see as many bird species as possible in a given year. People like Kenn Kaufman, Neil Hayward and Christian Hagenlocher have done really inspiring Big Years. There is even a movie about Sandy Komito, Greg Miller, and Al Levantin's very interesting Big Years. The movie is called (drumroll please....) The Big Year, and stars Owen Wilson, Jack Black, and Steve Martin. I have no pretensions of coming close to them, and I would never pretend to be a skilled enough birder to pull off a Big Year yet. However, as we are all in isolation and, thus, have few challenges except for staying healthy and sane, I thought it would be okay for me to try to do a "very modest," let's call it a "little" Big Year. This will help me strive to do something fun and healthy and to get out into nature. Thankfully, it is relatively easy to bird while six feet apart! So, with more than a dollop of modesty, I hereby declare that I am doing a little 2020-21 academic year Big Year. Let it be so! 

September 5, 2020 -September 4, 2021

2020-21 Species Count: 50


April 10, 2021

Jackson Park


53. Red-Breasted Mergaser

54. Mourning Dove

55. American Coot

56. Northern Rough-Winded Sparrow

57. Swamp Sparrow

58. Yellow-Rumped Warbler

March 22, 2021

Galien River County Park


51. Tree Swallow 

52. Eastern Phoebe

November 22, 2020

Jackson Park


50. Common Redpoll 

51. Northern Mockingbird

November 1, 2020

Gibson Island, Maryland


48. Eastern BlueBird

October 24, 2020

Gibson Island, Maryland


47. Golden-Crowned Kinglet

October 11, 2020

Burnham Park


44. Eastern Towhee 

45. Song Sparrow 

46. White-Crowned Sparrow

October 10, 2020

Jackson Park


41. Gray Catbird 

42. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

43. Wood Duck

September 13, 2020

Rainbow Beach


38. Bank Swallow 

39. Cooper's Hawk 

40. Black-Crowned Night-Heron

September 12, 2020

Jackson Park


34. Common Grackle 

35. White-Throated Sparrow 

36. American Crow 

37. Herring Gull 

37. Ruby-Throated Humming Bird

September 7, 2020

Skokie Lagoons


25. Magnolia Warbler 

26. Pied-billed Grebe 

27. Solitary Sandpipe 

28. Great Blue Heron 

29. Belted Kingfisher 

30. Eastern Wood-Pewee 

31. Blue Jay 

32. White-breasted Nuthatch 

33. Blackpoll Warbler