- Associated Press - Sunday, January 3, 2016

MILBANK, S.D. (AP) - A South Dakota man is hoping to see 750 different species of birds throughout 2016 as part of an informal competition among birding aficionados.

Milbank resident Olaf Danielson wants to see the species in what birders call the “Big Year,” a competition to find out who can see or hear the largest number of species of birds in a single calendar year and within a defined area in North America, the Watertown Public Opinion (https://bit.ly/1PxFRKM ) reported. The current record was set in 2013 with 749 species.

“I believe it’s definitely doable, but you never know,” Danielson said. Danielson will start his quest by driving to southern Texas and then flying to Florida.

Danielson said he has mapped out the beginning of the year. He expects to fly more than 130,000 miles and drive more than 70,000 miles before 2016 is over.

Danielson must observe all the birds within the continental U.S., Canada and the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. He will carry a camera and a smartphone loaded with bird calls during his search. The Big Year rules do not require proof of each bird witnessed, but he will try to photograph every bird he sees.

“It’s pretty much the honor system,” he said. “It’s a lot like golf. If you say you got par or bogey a hole, nobody is going to care, but if you start getting some weird stuff, somebody may call you on it.”

Danielson plans to blog about his quest throughout the year at https://olafsbigyear.blogspot.com .

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Information from: Watertown Public Opinion, https://www.thepublicopinion.com

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