Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge
Pacific Southwest Region, California, Nevada & Klamath Basin

The Big Sit

Join us in October for our National Wildlife Refuge Week event, "The Big Sit". We have registered "a circle" for Stillwater Refuge for this wonderful event - contact us to come be part of our circle !!

The Big Sit is an annual, international, noncompetitive birding event hosted by Bird Watcher's Digest and founded by the New Haven (CT) Bird Club. Every team that observes this year's "Golden Bird" has a chance to win $500. We hope bird watchers from around the globe will unite on this special day by participating in this event (it's free!). The Big Sit! is sponsored by Swarovski Optik, Alpen Optics, and Wild Bird Centers.

Some people have called it a "tailgate party for birders." Today there are Big Sit! circles all over the world, including Guatemala, India, the Netherlands, England, Vietnam, and New Zealand.

The simplicity of the concept makes The Big Sit! so appealing. Find a good spot for bird watching -- preferably one with good views of a variety of habitats and lots of birds. Next you create a real or imaginary circle 17 feet in diameter and sit inside the circle for 24 hours, counting all the bird species you see or hear. That's it. Find a spot, sit in it, have fun.

THE BIG SIT! is like a Big Day, or a bird-a-thon in that the object is to tally as many bird species as can be seen or heard within 24 hours. The difference lies in the area limitation from which you can observe. THIS FREE EVENT is OPEN to every person and club in any country!

The rules:

  1. Observations can be made from any area within the state/country you live, or wish to represent.
  2. Observations can only be made from within your pre-determined 17-foot (diameter) circle.
  3. There's no limit to how many people can occupy one circle (other than the obvious spatial limitations). Bring some chairs. Have a picnic or barbeque. Welcome passers-by and their contributions to your list.
  4. If a bird is seen or heard from within the circle but is too distant to identify, the circle can be left to get a closer look/listen to confirm the bird's identity. However, any new bird species seen or heard while confirming the original, can't be counted unless it's seen or heard from an "anchor" who stayed behind in your circle, or is seen by you when you return to your circle.
  5. Tally the number of species that you observe.
  6. Big Sit participants can work in shifts. No one person needs to be there throughout the whole Big Sit! The area can be left and returned to as frequently as desired, but you must be sure to return to the exact 17-foot diameter circle each time.
  7. The same circle must be used for the entire Big Sit!
  8. The Big Sit! will begin at 12:00am midnight and end 24 hours later.

How you win:

  1. Best Overall Count (Most species seen by a single circle - you win Big Sit "braggin' rights")
  2. Best State Count (Highest combined total from circles within a state - you win State "braggin' rights")
  3. The Big Prize!: Swarovski Optik is offering $500 to the circle who finds the "Golden Bird". What is the "Golden Bird"?


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Last updated: September 15, 2010
September 15, 2010