A Big Year for Conservation

By Team eBird September 28, 2013
Hawaiian Petrel

Hawaiian Petrel, Monterey Bay, 3 August. Photo by Dave Pavlik.

In early August we met Dave Pavlik aboard a Shearwater Journeys pelagic trip out of Monterey Bay. Dave is more than half-way through a photographic big year. But this big year is quite different from most. Dave’s goal is to raise money to support bird conservation in Hawaii by asking supporters to pledge a dollar amount for every bird he can photograph this year. Moreover, Dave is a recent eBird convert, now submitting all his checklists to eBird, further increasing the value of this effort. We asked Dave to tell us more about his big year, as we thought it would be highly interesting to the eBird audience. As luck would have it, Dave got a great new year bird on that trip–a Hawaiian Petrel (see photo)!

From Dave:

Hawaii has been called the “bird extinction capital of the world”, and for good reason. Of the 113 endemic Hawaiian species that once existed, 71 have become extinct. Currently, 32 of the remaining 42 endemic species are federally listed, ten of which haven’t been seen for up to 40 years. If drastic conservation measures aren’t taken, Hawaii may lose even more native species. The American Bird Conservancy has been very active in conservation efforts in Hawaii, and they can use all the help they can get.

This is why, since the beginning of 2013 I have been pursuing a photographic big year. The goal of the photographic big year is simple; to photograph as many species of birds in the ABA Area in one year as possible while raising awareness and pledges for the conservation crisis in Hawaii. So far I have visited Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, California and Alaska and have photographed over 525 species. There is plenty of time left in the year and plenty of birds to photograph. I will be spending the rest of the year birding in Michigan and Minnesota (while going to graduate school). Over breaks, I plan to visit Texas and possibly the east coast.

If you are interested in supporting my big year, I have set up a blog chronicling my progress. Here you will find more information, pictures, trip reports, a species photographed list and a pledge form. Pledging is easy. Simply fill out the form on the blog and pledge per species photographed, or make a fixed donation. At the end of the year, I will email you the final birds photographed tally and you can donate directly to the American Bird Conservancy. All pledges are 100% tax deductible and I will take no part of the pledge.

The pledge form, along with more information, can be found here:


With our support, the American Bird Conservancy can continue to make progress in protecting Hawaii’s endangered bird species.