An Interview with Greg Miller about his 2016 Big Year

Following is an interview between Greg Miller Birding (GMB) and Greg Miller (GM). Recorded on 11/2/2015 in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

Greg Miller planning on doing a Big Year in 2016. photo by Greg Miller

Greg Miller planning on doing a Big Year in 2016. photo by Greg Miller

[GMB] In 1998 you did a Big Year in North America and racked up 715 species. It was a crazy year and your story was part of the book written by Mark Obmascik that came out in 2004 and was later made into a Hollywood movie starring Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson. And Jack Black played your character. The movie was released in fall of 2011. Rumor has it that you are doing another Big Year in 2016. Is this true?
[GM] Guilty. Yes, it is true. I am doing another Big Year in 2016. Continue reading

Upcoming Stuff as of Feb 5 2015

Greetings from Florida! It’s raining this morning and I’ve got a day between guiding and festivals.  It’s also windy here in Ormond Beach, FL with highs in the 60s. Tomorrow is the beginning of the Birds of a Feather Fest in nearby Palm Coast, FL. I have a difficult time keeping up with all my upcoming stuff, and I imagine it’s even harder for you (unless you are one of the 11 die-hard Greg Miller fans who watch every calendar change on this website <grin>).

Upcoming Festivals in 2015:

Feb 6-8 – Birds of a Feather Fest in Palm Coast, FL

This is the inaugural year for this festival and I am privileged to be a keynote speaker for it.

Feb 13-15 – Sax-Zim Bog Birding Festival in Meadowlands, MN

I can’t wait to go back to THE BOG. Yes, it is take-your-breath-away cold. But the owls will make it all worthwhile.  Two of my favorites are here–the Great Gray Owl and the Northern Hawk Owl.  Throw in some boreal possibilities like Boreal Chickadee, Black-backed Woodpecker, Spruce Grouse, Gray Jay, and Pine Grosbeak and now it doesn’t seem so cold. Well. Yes, it does still feel cold, but at least you are going to be one happy camper with these birds.
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Help the Kirtland’s Warbler!

Kirtland's Warbler - Kelleys Island OH - 2014-05-13 photo by Lee Wallace

Kirtland’s Warbler – Kelleys Island OH – 2014-05-13 photo by Lee Wallace

The Kirtland’s Warbler is going to be taken off the Endangered Species List! What!?!? Yes. It’s true. In both 2012 & 2013 there were more than 2,000 singing males counted. That is double the original objective from the 1960s. Now there is planning for this to happen.  Unfortunately, the Kirtland’s Warbler success story is still heavily reliant on human intervention. What can be done without the Government’s help? There is still hope.  Read on about how we all can be involved.

Here’s a nice article by Howard Meyerson of The Grand Rapids Press: Endangered Kirtland’s Warblers: Looking good, but what lies ahead

Here is the latest info from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Endangered Species page for the Kirtland’s Warbler

Michigan Audubon will be giving guided tours to see Kirtland’s Warblers this year (2014): Guided Tours for Kirtland’s Warbler 2014

The Kirtland’s Warbler Initiative (thanks to Huron Pines) was designed to smoothly transition the efforts to continue conservation of the Kirtland’s Warbler after it becomes delisted from the Endangered Species List.

Michigan DNR is looking for public input on the new conservation plan in this Petosky News article: Public invited to provide input on new Kirtland’s Warbler Conservation Plan

Come join me this Thursday (June 12, 2014) in Grayling, Michigan to help make this a safe ride for the Kirtland’s Warbler.
Kirtland’s Warbler Home Opener
Join me to help the Kirtland’s Warbler!
Thursday, June 12, 6:30-8:30pm
Ramada Inn, Grayling, Michigan

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and… Wait. That's some 1960's movie. But Biggest Week in American Birding is almost here. And really these little gems called warblers decorate the trees and fill the air with song. In short, they make me happy. Here are a few birds I got photos of in 2013. Enjoy! Continue reading

2014 April Road Trip

Some Upcoming Events

High Plains Snow Goose Festival Feb 20, 2014 Lamar, CO
Beckham Bird Club Annual Dinner Mar 11, 2014 Louisville, KY
Big O Birding Festival Mar 13, 2014 LaBelle, FL
Nature Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival Mar 20-23, 2014 Spring Hill, FL
Road Trip from Ohio to Arizona
watch for updates on my Facebook page!
Apr 11-23, 2014 OH to AZ
Verde Valley Birding and Wildlife Festival Apr 24-27, 2014 Cottonwood, AZ
Biggest Week in American Birding May 6-15, 2014 Oregon, OH
Acadia Birding Festival May 29-Jun 1, 2014 Bar Harbor, ME
Ecuador: Northern Andes and Amazon with Greg Miller
trip is a “go”! only a few spots remain
Aug 8-23, 2014 Quito, Ecuador
2014 April Road Trip

2014 April Road Trip

Yep.  I am hitting the road again.  Another 5,000 miles and lots of birds!  I will be making some updates here, but hope to update Facebook & Twitter daily.  I hope you will be able to follow me vicariously.  And, for those of you in my path, maybe you can bird with me.  Much of this itinerary is in flux–quite optional.  I’m hoping to have some fun seeing and photographing birds along the way.  I just got a PhoneSkope adapter for my iPhone and Swarovski telescope.  This will be a good test and you all will be my Quality Assurance team to rate the pictures.  And I will be eBirding along the way, too.

Tonight I am doing laundry and packing.  I will be leaving tomorrow morning.  Here is my tentative itinerary:

Fri Apr 11 - Sugarcreek OH to Bowling Green KY (420 miles)
Sat Apr 12 - Bowling Green KY to Little Rock AR (411 miles)
Sun Apr 13 - Little Rock AR to Keller TX (351 miles)
Mon Apr 14 - Keller TX to Beaumont TX (314 miles)
Tue Apr 15 - Birding at High Island TX (86 miles r/t)
Wed Apr 16 - Beaumont TX to Corpus Christi TX (291 miles)
Thu Apr 17 - Birding in Corpus Christi TX
Fri Apr 18 - Birding in Corpus Christi TX
Sat Apr 19 - Corpus Christi TX to Fort Stockton TX (457 miles)
Sun Apr 20 - Fort Stockton TX to Tucson AZ (556 miles)
Mon Apr 21 - Birding in SE AZ
Tue Apr 22 - Birding in SE AZ
Wed Apr 23 - Tucson AZ to Cottonwood AZ (219 miles)
Thu Apr 24 - Verde Valley Birding Festival in Cottonwood AZ
Fri Apr 25 - Verde Valley Birding Festival in Cottonwood AZ
Sat Apr 26 - Verde Valley Birding Festival in Cottonwood AZ
Sun Apr 27 - Verde Valley Birding Festival in Cottonwood AZ
Mon Apr 28 - Cottonwood AZ to Albuquerque NM (387 miles)
Tue Apr 29 - Birding in Albuquerque NM
Wed Apr 30 - Albuquerque NM to Oklahoma City OK (541 miles)
Thu May  1 - Oklahoma City OK to Rolla MO (394 miles)
Fri May  2 - Rolla MO to Lexington KY (441 miles)
Sat May  3 - Birding NE KY
Sun May  4 - Lexington KY to Sugarcreek OH (291 miles)
Mon May  5 - Sugarcreek OH to Oak Harbor OH (125 miles)
Tue May  6-15 - Biggest Week in American Birding

Two Years After The Big Year Movie

Two years ago last month (October) the movie, The Big Year, was released. I personally have seen the movie 24 times since then. Of course I really liked the movie. I am biased though. I got to proofread the script and I got to be on the movie set as a Bird Consultant. What a surreal experience! It still seems like a dream. Like it never truly happened. A Hollywood movie with A-List stars (Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson) was the last thing I would have expected from my Big Year in 1998. So many things had to happen to make this a reality. I often wondered “Why me?” Most folks reserve that for bad experiences. But I soon realized it really wasn't about me. It was waaay bigger! What is it? There is a new wave of popularity in birding. And I am privileged to be riding along with this one! And I can't help believing that we are only beginning to scratch the surface of what is about to be! I am full of hope for our future!

Recently someone asked me how many times I've spoken. Great question. I was curious myself. My friend, Erica Rusk, compiled a list of all the places I've been in the last two years. She has been keeping my calendar for me these last two years. Thank you, Erica! Here is a map I put together with Erica's list and a website called Batchgeo.

Thank you everyone! It has been wonderful traveling all over America (and Canada, too) talking about a contest I didn't win and signing books I didn't write!


View After The Big Year Movie in a full screen map


Panama in January 2014

Yep. I’m behind on my target list for Panama. I’m behind with my blogging. I’m behind at work. I’m behind with half a dozen other projects. Sigh. It happens. What’s hollering the loudest? Panama, of course. It still seems just like a dream. But it’s only just 2 months away! I am writing tonight because there’s been some shuffling on the roster and there are now 6 spaces available. I know it is a last minute proposition but this is a great opportunity. The trip is with Wildside Nature Tours and is January 18-25, 2014. Full info can be found here.

Are you afraid you will be sleeping in mosquito nets? Roughing it without electricity? Eating canned food? Haha. Check out this short video from the Gamboa Rainforest Resort. Maybe you are afraid I will push you to build your bird list at a relentless pace? Relax. We will get to see tons of birds and enjoy them, too! And wowzers! Have you seen any of the fabulous butterflies in Panama? Check out a few of these pics! And don’t forget the fantastic flowers! Pretty awesome, eh?

Did you know you can use U.S. dollars in Panama? And we are only gonna stay in one spot–no need to pack up your bags and move around every couple days. The hikes will be relatively easy–so easy, in fact, that I can do it. 🙂 Here is a longer YouTube video (unofficial) of the lodge and surrounding grounds.

Ok. I’m done for the evening. Sweet dreams (it’s brisk tonight in Ohio as the temperature is slated to drop below freezing). Just imagine how cold it will be in January. Now replace that with a warm, tropical breeze and a comfy hammock.

2013 RMBO 25th Anniversary

Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory celebrated its 25th anniversary on October 5, 2013. A nice crowd showed up for the event. Above, folks gathered to hear some guy talk about being a bird consultant for a Hollywood movie, The Big Year, and his experiences meeting Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson.


We had a good turn out for a very chilly early morning bird walk. This is a phone-scoped picture of the morning sun beginning to light up a very distant Long's Peak. It was taken handheld with my iPhone through my Swarovski ATX 80 telescope at 25x.

An American Kestrel posed long enough for everyone to get a scope view and fortunately, long enough for me to capture a quick phone-scoped picture (same set up as above).

And as all my readers know by now, I love visiting local restaurants and trying out new dishes. This is a “regular” sized bowl of Pho (noodle soup) at a Vietnamese restaurant in Brighton, Colorado. It was gargantuan! I didn't even make a significant dent in this Goliath-sized bowl of soup. I think it must be half a gallon. Haha. Check out that quarter beside the glass of water for a size reference! The portion I ate was delicious, too.


Colorado October 2013

Wow! What is not to like about aspens in the fall? I am here in Colorado for Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory’s BBQ with the Birds tomorrow, October 5, 2013. Check out the RMBO website for more information. And of course, if you are in the area why not come and join me for the day’s festivities!

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2014 Panama Target Birds 31-40

Greetings from Nebraska!  I’m en route to Brighton, CO for the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory’s BBQ with the Birds on October 5, 2013.  I just had a great weekend at Pt. Pelee with the Ontario Field Ornithologists.  More on that in another blog.

Previously I posted 2014 Target Birds 1-10 & 11-20 & 21-30. Today we will look at 31-40. These represent the most commonly reported birds in Panama in late January in eBird. I am using what eBird refers to as Frequency of Checklists. This is a number that uses the total number of checklists that have a particular species checked divided by the total number of checklists submitted. It is the percent of checklists that have reported this species. eBird data was accessed on 8/26/2013 to retrieve this list. Late January? Yes. This is to coincide with Wildside Nature Tours trip Panama Canal Zone and Pipeline Road Birding with Greg Miller, January 18-25. Ready for those target birds? Here we go:

Most Frequently Reported Birds in Panama for late January #31-40

31. Streaked Flycatcher
32. Red-legged Honeycreeper
33. Cocoa Woodcreeper
34. House Wren
35. Gray-headed Chachalaca
36. Wattled Jacana
37. Western Slaty-Antshrike
38. Blue Dacnis
39. Gartered Trogon
40. Little Blue Heron