Nicole Koeltzow's Big Year

Meet Nicole!

Meet Nicole Koeltzow. She’s an adventurous, friendly, nature-loving birder  who has found herself at the forefront of a grand quest -  a 2018 Birding Big Year! A seasonal park ranger, she began the year with the vision of spending her months off trying to reach a goal of seeing 600 birds across the United States. Remarkably, Nicole reached her 600th bird on May 9th – a Sabine’s Gull!

How  Nicole’s  Big Year Came to Be

By summertime, it was clear that Nicole was on pace to accomplish something she previously never would have thought possible. She was leading every birder in the nation in the number of species seen in the ABA (American Bird Association) area, and she realized it might be possible for her to be successful in the 2018 ABA Big Year competition. She was able to defer her next park ranger assignment, and committed herself to completing a Big Year.

So, what’s a Big Year?

A Big Year is an annual competition among birders (aka, “birdwatchers”) to see and hear the most birds within a calendar year. A Big Year can take place anywhere in the world. An “ABA Big Year” like the one Nicole is doing  is a competition to see and hear the most birds in the designated American Birding Association geographic area. An ABA Big Year birder will spend their time traveling all around the United States, with trips to Alaska and Canada, and pelagic trips at sea, in order to reach their goal.

How your donation will help Nicole…

Nicole Koeltzow has been accomplishing her Big Year in a decidedly low-budget manner – traversing and camping around the country in her trusty minivan, crashing on friends' couches, and occasionally catching a snooze in a busy airport terminal! Along the way, she’s met dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people who have encouraged her to continue her inspiring journey.  Despite the focus and determination it takes to accomplish such a feat, birding sometimes 20 hours a day followed by several hundred miles of driving, Nicole always has time for a friendly hug, a charming story, and a genuine interest in bringing joy to those around her.

Any donations to Nicole’s Big Year will help fund her expenses for the remainder of this quest in 2018. If she succeeds , Nicole will be the youngest woman to win the ABA Area Big Year competition. Your donation will not only help provide her day-to-day living expenses for the remainder of this competition, but also fund any special trips she may need to make during this time to see any rare birds that are located in the ABA area.

Thank you!

Thank you for supporting Nicole’s Big Year adventure! As she has traveled across the country, she’s been inspired by the incredible beauty and the amazing hospitality of our nation. Any donations above what she needs to accomplish her Big Year will be donated to the National Wildlife Refuge Association to benefit our nation’s system of wildlife refuges.

Nicole’s Progress

As of September 9, 2018, Nicole has seen and heard 746 birds in the ABA Area. She’s currently in Gambell, Alaska, hoping for some lucky west winds and  incredible Asian vagrants.

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