18/01/2022
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US year list record broken

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A woman from south Texas has set a new record for the most bird species seen in the Lower 48 contiguous US states in a calendar year.

Tiffany Kersten broke the previous high when she connected with a vagrant Bat Falcon at Santa Ana NWR in Alamo, Texas. She wrote on her blog: "An ABA first, in my home county, in this special place incredibly dear to my heart, was the perfect way to break the Lower 48 Big Year."

Kersten went on to finish on 726 species, with the final addition being Northern Lapwing in New Jersey on 23 December, which surpassed the previous record of 724 (set in 2020) by two.


The ABA Area's first Bat Falcon proved to be the record-breaking species for Tiffany Kersten's Lower 48 Big Year (Keith Barnes).

Kersten, a professional bird guide, was inspired to take on the challenge of a 'Big Year' in 2021 by a client, although only decided to go ahead with the plan at last minute.

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According to an article in Texas Monthly, Kersten's final travel stats for her Big Year included driving 49,000 miles and taking more than 50 flights across the country.

Kersten has used her Big Year efforts to highlight women's safety while out birding in the field, blogging along the way and raising funds to purchase safety alarms for female birders she has met while on her travels.

Writing on her blog, Kersten said: "Recent events in the birding community have brought this issue to the forefront of many conversations both online and in person. It's time we all work together, have the tough conversations, learn from other points of view, and really think critically about the ways our actions affect others, and how we can come together to make birding a safer and more inclusive space for women, ultimately, elevating women birders."