AOS Winter meeting featured Tiffany Kersten and her Birding Big Year…

Tiffany Kersten, well known for her Birding Big Year record, which she achieved while also raising awareness of women’s safety in the outdoors, was the Alabama Ornithological Society’s Keynote Speaker for its winter meeting Jan. 27-29 at Lake Guntersville State Park.

Tiffany didn’t plan to set a Big Year record, but after a series of unanticipated and serendipitous events, she suddenly found herself achieving one. As a sexual assault survivor, she spent 2021 traveling to all corners of the Lower 48 States, tallying birds and gifting personal safety alarms to women she met along the way.

Her goal was to see 700 species, and to raise awareness of women’s safety in the outdoors. She ended up surpassing her goal and setting a new Lower 48 Big Year record of 726.

In her presentation, Tiffany spoke about the fear, empowerment, struggles and healing that all played vital roles in the personal growth she experienced on this wild adventure.

A Texan by way of New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Hawaii, she holds a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology from Northland College. She has spent more than a decade as an environmental educator, teaching about raptor identification and migration with the Cape May Bird Observatory, monitoring shorebirds on Cape Cod and banding Honeycreepers in Hawaii. She finally landed in South Texas where she worked at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, then Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center, and managed the McAllen Nature Center, before founding her own company, Nature Ninja Birding Tours.

The AOS weekend  included several field trips led by knowledgeable birders around the Guntersville area. It provided an opportunity to see a wide variety of ducks, loons, grebes, and eagles, as well as many other bird species.

The Alabama Ornithological Society welcomes new members. Dues and fees are modest and birders of all ability levels are welcome. Dues for current members are due in January.

Information about how to register is available on this website. To join (or to renew your membership), click here: