The Big Sit! The Largest Number of Birds With the Least Amount of Effort

The annual Big Sit is a combination of two things I love: birding and sitting down. The idea is to count as many birds as possible in a single day without leaving a 17-foot circle, and Maine Audubon will be hosting our 11th consecutive Big Sit event this coming Saturday, October 13.

Big Sits are an opportunity for a different kind of birding. Instead of constantly moving around, chasing species, and trying to cover as much area as possible, Big Sits force birders to slow down and observe the birds as they fly around the landscape. Watch as the gulls move in and out with the tides. Follow the Yellow-rumped Warblers as they make their rounds through the trees. Wait for the day to warm up, then watch the vultures and raptors take flight.

The Big Sit is an international, non-competitive event organized by Bird Watcher’s Digest, and the Maine Audubon count circle at Gilsland Farm is one of at least 140 Big Sit circles around the world, all counting birds on the weekend of Oct. 13-14. Maine Audubon always sets up our count circle at the same place, near the water in the North Meadow, giving us views of as many different habitats as possible.

At the end of the day we see just as many birds by standing in one place as we would if we had tramped all over. Gilsland Big Sitters generally see about 60 species over the course of the day, including woodpeckers, sparrows, warblers, shorebirds, bluebirds, turkeys, ducks, and all kinds of other birds. Here is the 2017 bird list for the Gilsland Gulls, which includes goodies like Clay-colored Sparrow and Pileated Woodpecker.

Come join us! The Big Sit is FREE and open to birders of all ability levels. It’s a chance to relax and spot some birds, chat with some fellow avian-enthusiasts, and enjoy the sights and smells of autumn at Gilsland Farm. Birders will be on site from at least 6am to 6pm, so show up whenever you feel like and stay for as long as you like. The event is BYOB (Bring Your Own Binoculars) and BYOC (Bring Your Own Chair)!

See you on Saturday  the 13th! Registration is available here, but not required.