A 28-year-old man from Oregon last month saw his 5,300th bird species of this year. Noah Stryker is working a huge Big Year, world-wide in scope, already setting a world record with hundreds of sightings to spare.
His goal when he began this trip was to see 5,000 species. Birdlife International lists 10,426 world bird species. Stryker has about four weeks to go, still planning to bird each of the 365 days. The previous known record was just over 4,700 species.
Stryker is traveling alone, with only a backpack for baggage. He is not using professional guides, relying instead on the skills of local birders he contacts along the way. His itinerary has covered those places offering the best chance to see many species birds. He is traveling in short hops, with no intent to return to Oregon until the year ends.
He began with a few days in Antarctica, then three and a half months in South America, two months in Central and North America, a week and a half in Europe, two and a half months in Africa, three months in Asia and some Pacific islands. He will finish with three weeks in Australia.
The trip is being financed by advances and sponsorships. Author of the book “Hope Is the Thing with Feathers,” Stryker hopes to write a book about this trip. Should be a great story.
The record should be his for some time.