What happened to The Biggest Day?

by gunnar on August 27, 2012

I was wrong!

What seemed like a great idea, did have some flaws. The Biggest day as described in the about section of this blog has been cancelled this year. There is no film crew. There is no US team. There is no fundraising program.  And there are no paying participants. It was my own fault. Great ideas need people to be carried out. It needs to move people. It needs lots of preparation.   And I assumed too much how to reach the masses.

  • I assumed that giving a talk about The Biggest Day at The Biggest Week of American Birding in Ohio would attract loads of interest. But who wants to attend an indoor talk at 11 AM when the warblers are invading Magee Marsh.  There was a crowd of 8 people!
  • I assumed that participating in the Big Day competition of World Series of Birding would find like minded lunatics like myself who enjoy birding for 24 hours straight – and more important are willing to pay and commit  for it – on quite short notice.  Birders need more time to plan for a trip.
  • I assumed that it would be easy to set up a specific page for donations to RainForest Partnership. It wasn’t easy.
  • I assumed that film makers and TV production teams would love to document the record attempt if we just provided free logistics.  PromPeru seemed to be possible to persuade to cover the cost of flights and the lodge would clearly provide the accommodation and food while there. I didn’t fully understand how the business model of Adventure Birding TV is set-up.  And with the current focus of PromPeru (The Peruvian Tourist Board) they would not  put up the money for the fee plus expenses for three shows covering mostly areas that already sell well to birders and nature lovers, such as SE Peru.
  • I did not assume that the US team would pay with their own money to come to Peru, but had hoped PromPeru would cover this.  Without a film crew it got less interesting and without booked paying participants the whole project lost funding possibilities.  Without clients and without a film crew I did not even bother to put down a request to PromPeru  for airtickets for the US team.  The US participants have made other plans by now of course.

Fail with grace.

Ken Robinson says in this classic  talk from 2006:

If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.

So I failed. One could see it as a waste of time and money.
But was it, really?

No, it has been great to fail!

  • In Ohio I met up with some great birders and many online and Facebook friends. And I made many new friends too.
  • In New Jersey and The World Series of Birding I got a feel for the 24h Big Day spirit and got to meet many like minded. The best perhaps was to hangout with the great birder Isaac Grant from New York and experience birding from a convertible (roof top off) and with Jason Kessler of Shit-Birders-Say fame.   Here is the viral video in case you have not seen it.

  • Since Jason is a film producer and already made a lovely documentary about The World Series of Birding called Opposable Chums, if the project is done in the future Jason may be interested in filming it. The cutting of Opposable Chums capture the intensity of a Big Day and would be very suitable for telling this story.
  • Scott Robinson and Rich Hoyer have set their schedule to have a go in 2014, which will give us much more time to raise funds and find sponsors. Hopefully, Andrew Spencer and Tayler Brooks can also get off in 2014.

…I get knocked down, but I get up again….

Instead, I am planning to do a Big Day anyway in September on my own with a little help from my friends….  And I have come up with a plan, that shall be relieved in the next blogpost.

Stay tuned….and let me know how you have recovered from failure…. below


Top Photo: Banksy, the street artist says it all.

Follow your dreams Banksy

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