What Is the Big Sit?

Sharon Stiteler, Park Ranger, Mississippi National River and Recreation Area One of the cool features of the Mississippi River is that it is a major bird highway during spring and fall migration. Coldwater Spring’s transformation into an oak savanna habitat has made it a prime fueling spot for birds on a major marathon to get to Central and South America. That’s why I love to host an all-day birding party that I call The Big Sit. It’s based on an event that happens around the country where birders sit in one spot for 24 hours and document all the birds they see and hear. This light version will go from sunrise to sundown.

On October 22 you can join me and some of my birding friends any time of day to watch birds at Coldwater Spring. We’ll supply birding guides, identification tips, binoculars and scopes. We’ll even share tips on how to take pictures of birds with your smartphone through a scope. We could see cedar waxwings, eastern bluebirds and all sorts of hawks.

The Big Sit attracts birders of all abilities—from hardcore enthusiasts full of tips on how to identify flying hawks, to new birders who want to learn more about sparrows and vireos. It’s low-key, and people can show up at any time of day for any length of time. This is one of the many birding events we host year-round in our national park. Check out the event calendar to find more!