In 2016 Arjan set a new world record: over the course of 366 days he observed 6851 bird species in 40 different countries, breaking the record of 6042 bird species set the year before by the American Noah Strycker.  To put things in perspective; there are currently 10672 officially recognized species which means that he observed almost 65% of all the bird species in the world in a single year.

In this opening talk he will talk about his passion for birds and conservation and how this culminated in the adventure of a lifetime, his ‘Biggest Year’. He will focus on the conservation issues and the countless inspiring conservation programs that he came across, with enigmatic flagship species like Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Philippine Eagle, White-necked Picathartes and White-bellied Cinclodes. These stories will be accompanied by a set of gripping photos and videos that he shot himself during his ‘Biggest year’.

During this amazing year Arjan also raised money for Birdlife Preventing Extinctions Programme.

A bit more about Arjan and his Biggest Year:

My name is Arjan Dwarshuis. I’m currently writing my master thesis in landscape archaeology at the VU Amsterdam. Birdwatching however, is my greatest passion. My passion for birds and birding gives me enormous fulfilment in life, takes me to the most beautiful and remote places in this world and makes me understand nature and all its complexities in a much better way.

I guess my fascination with birds began when I was just a couple of months old and I started mumbling my first words. I called my stuffed animal Pica pica which later turned out to be the Latin name for magpie. When I was a toddler and other kids drew houses and cars I drew birds. I could stare in awe at these feathered wonders as they came to feed at the bird table in our back garden. That is the wonderful thing about birds, you don’t have to travel far to watch them, they are all around us, ever present, night and day, without them it would be eerie silent.

As soon as I could read my parents bought me my first bird-book and with the help of my grandfather’s old binoculars I started identifying those beautiful birds in our back garden. Suddenly there were Great- and Blue tits, Song thrushes, Blackbirds, Jays, Robins, Green- and Great Spotted Woodpeckers and even the odd Sparrowhawk hunting all the former species!

I never stopped identifying birds and now, more than 20 years later, I’ve observed more than 7000 of the 10672 bird species in the world and I can say for sure that I’ll keep doing this for the rest of my life.

During my Biggest Year I raised funding for the Birdlife Preventing Extinctions Programme. During my travels last year visited many inspiring birdlife conservation programmes, several of which were initiated through the Birdlife Preventing Extinctions Programme. In my blog I wrote about these experiences. By traveling for a year I have a global perspective on threats and conservation and during my talk at the birdfair I will share this perspective with the crowd. My aim is to engage everybody in birding and conservation, during my talk I will highlight and elaborate on this personal quest.

So far I raised more than 33.000 Euros and through my talks and workshops I currently raise between 300-1000 Euros per month. In October the documentary film titled ‘Arjan’s Biggest Year’ will air in the Netherlands of which 20% of the royalties will go to the BPEP. Moreover 10% of the royalties from the book I’m currently writing with Meulenhoff Publishers, will go to the BPEP.

In all I aim on raising 100.000 Euro’s for the BPEP as a direct spin-off from doing a Big Year.




Date(s) - 18/08/2017
10:00 am - 10:45 am

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