A Big Year in Montana: Go Bird Montana

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 3-28-2019


Up until 2007 no one had ever seen 300 bird species in a single year; the record stood at 294. That was, until 2007 when Gary Swant dedicated his time to a Big Year in Montana. “I took off from most everything and birded for a total of 141 days. I drove 24,003 miles and never left the state. I reached my goal of 300 species in early July and went on to record a total of 328 species.”

Gary's record still stands today, 12 years later. Since then, any individual birder has only topped 300 three times, the highest of which was in 2018 with 311 species.

This lecture shares how Gary achieved the record number, including miles and cost per bird. He will show some of his favorite birds, not limited to Montana. In total, Gary Swant has spent time observing and photographing birds in 27 countries and regions of the world.

Streaming Media


Gary Swant of Deer Lodge taught biological sciences at Powell County High School for 25 years. After retirement he founded GoBirdMontana, www.gobirdmontana.com, an environmental consulting and bird guide service.