September Membership Meeting

149 Bird Species in 18 hours
Thursday, September 21, 2023
7:00 p.m., Olin Hall, Room 129

Presented by Mike and MerryLynn Denny,
Phil Kahler and Bruce Toews

Zoom link:

You have undoubtedly heard of Kenn Kaufman, naturalist and author of popular field guides, who set out in 1973 to record as many North American birds as possible in one year. His adventures covered nearly 80,000 miles and the sighting of 671 bird species.
His journey is recorded in his book Kingbird Highway, as well as the 2011 motion picture The Big Year, a comedy starring Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin. Kaufman’s book and the movie likely played a role in building awareness about the joy of birding and it most certainly motivated various organizations and individuals to organize and participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, Global Day Bird Counts and Big Day Counts.

On July 11th four members of BMAS set out on their own “Big Bird Day” in Walla Walla County. The quartet started at 4 a.m. with a goal to “best” the record of spotting 149 bird species in 18 hours.
Their trek took them along the Columbia River, to the foothills of the Blue Mountains, into the Valley and onto the campus of Walla Walla University. Unlike Kenn Kaufman, they didn’t need to “bum” rides or survive on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but whenever you are birding with friends, anything
can happen!

Join Mike and MerryLynn Denny, Phil Kahler and Bruce Toews as they recap their adventures while highlighting some of the birds they saw on their Big Bird Day.

Mike Denny is a retired biologist. After retiring from Washington State Conservation work, Mike and Dan Biggs produced two educational series for Blue Mountain TV. One is Secret Life of the Forest: The Northern Blue Mountains, and the second is Secret Life of the Deserts of the Pacific Northwest.
MerryLynn Denny is the organizer of BMAS’ Annual Christmas Bird Count, and worked for many years at Walla Walla University.
Phil Kahler is a science teacher at Opportunity, a learning program that provides students with a pathway to graduation. He is a new member of the BMAS Board of Directors, serving on the Education Committee.
Bruce Toews is the chair of the Walla Walla University School of Business and was an instructor at Whitman College in the past.

Eastern Kingbird-
photo by MerryLynn Denny


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