Malkolm Hits 500!
If you head out for a bicycle ride, how many kinds of birds are you likely to spot? If you are teenager Malkolm Boothroyd, the answer is now over 500 species. The boy wonder from the Yukon is ten months through his twelve-month quest, has bicycled way over 10,000 miles through Canada and the U.S., and has identified over 500 species of birds while raising nearly $12,000 for conservation. Now, that is an impressive feat of birding!
In the March-April 2008 issue of Audubon, Jane Braxton Little profiled Malkolm Boothroyd and his parents, Ken Madsen and Wendy Boothroyd, and their "Bird Year" project. The trio left their home in Whitehorse, Yukon, on the summer solstice (June 21, 2007), heading south on a year-long, fossil-fuel-free pursuit of birds. Since then they have biked south through California, east across Arizona and Texas to Florida, then back along the Gulf Coast to the upper Texas Coast by late April. All along the way, Malkolm has been identifying and sketching birds, keeping careful notes, and inspiring birders (and others) to think about energy conservation in whole new ways. Dozens of birders have taken up Malkolm's "Bird Day Challenge" to do big birding days by bike or on foot. You can read all about this amazing family and their bird year by visiting their website. It was on April 20th, en route from Peveto Sanctuary in Louisiana to the Houston Audubon Society's sanctuaries at High Island, Texas, that Malkolm spotted his 500th bird for the year: a Dickcissel, that small finch of the prairies, which was on its own migration from South America to the central United States. By April 27th the official bird list total stood at 505, and the intrepid team will undoubtedly pick up a few more before they wrap up the effort on June 21 somewhere in west Texas.