BIG YEAR RULES AND ETIQUETTE

The BIG YEAR IN A LITTLE STATE is a wonderful experience but there are rules that need to be followed closely in order for your species to count.

 • Listing is honor-based. All documentation needs to be first-hand and VISUAL in nature with a few exceptions. We will count Owls, Rails, Goatsuckers and Ruffed Grouse in the hearing category. If possible please record your audible findings. If you cannot make a recording please list the location, habitat and description of the bird. 

Photography is strongly encouraged throughout the BIG YEAR. Capturing pictures of the species you list will help if there are questions and especially in the "first-timer" and bird "enthusiast" categories.*

• All species must be identified within the state of Rhode Island. Birds identified at Audubon's Caratunk Wildlife Refuge in Seekonk, MA may also be included in your total.

• Birds can be identified 24-hours a day, so be sure to get out and look for owls and nightjars.

• Species identified must be wild (no trips to the zoo!)

• Birds must be viewed from public areas (private property should not be accessed without the explicit permission of the landowner).

• Pelagic birds can be counted as long as they are identified on a boat trip at that leaves (with the participant(s))  from Rhode Island and returns the same or next day. 

• Only one member of a family team needs to identify the bird for to count.

• Above all, keep the welfare of the birds in mind during this competition. It is extremely important that individuals respect the species they are viewing and do not harass them in any way.

As such, the following are NOT PERMITTED:

  • Using recorded song playback to lure species.
  • Approaching nesting birds (known to be building nests, incubating eggs or caring for offspring). 

*Please be sure to take pictures of yourself while participating in the competition. Submitted photos will be featured at the reception.

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