Widdows Family Birding Big Year 2021


For our family, 2020 has brought about the realisation that we need to throw caution to the wind and embrace the moment, right now. Our dream of immersing ourselves in nature and providing our son and daughter with a childhood grounded in the outdoors – could this be possible? Slowly, as our family’s lifestyle returned to pre-2020 life, we knew we needed to make this dream into a reality. 

We are ‘The Widdows’, an Ecologist and Occupational Therapist established in 2005, married in 2013 and expanded in 2016 and 2018. Our daughter, Wren, and son, Finn, are avid nature lovers who find the most joy when barefoot in the bush. As bird-lovers and budding twitchers, our children have been moved from safari tents to bird hides since they were a few weeks old. 

A ‘Birding Big Year’ has always been somewhat of a bucket list item for us - one calendar year dedicated to searching for as many bird species as possible. Yes, you read correctly, we are going to attempt to track down some of our country’s more secretive species, with a four and two-year-old on board - what could possibly go wrong? Given the impressive diversity of birds and incredible biomes within our country we have decided to make this a proudly South African adventure. We are packing it all in, taking sabbaticals, packing up our home, putting our eggs in one basket (some bird related humour) and trading it in for one incredible year in 2021. 

Given the significant impact that the global pandemic has had on our tourism sector, we are using our journey to raise funds and support for the Community Bird Guide Training Project run by BirdLife South Africa.

Throughout our Birding Big Year, we also aim to connect with various registered bird guides from this project, contracting and promoting their services, while birding within the areas which they operate. We would really appreciate your financial assistance in order to support the guides we meet during our year. We believe that it takes a village to make a dream like this possible and we are so grateful for any support along the way.

Our Birding Big Year is not only about chasing rarities and adding to our year list, but rather an opportunity to rediscover ourselves and how we fit into our natural world. Hopefully, through our journey, we will be able to encourage more families to partake in the incredibly entertaining hobby that is birding. You will be able to follow us on this exciting journey by checking out our socials, Our Birding Big Year 2021 on Facebook and Instagram. Should you see a bewildered family at your next twitch or birding outing, just know that’s us.

Additional information

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