Former NMU student finishes his ‘big year’

MARQUETTE – Former Northern Michigan University student David Pavlik has raised almost $6,000 for the American Bird Conservancy through his photographic “big year.”

Pavlik, a 2010 NMU graduate who is pursuing his master’s degree in conservation biology at the University of Minnesota, photographed 585 bird species in 2013, raising about $5,800 in pledges.

The money, he said, will go toward bird conservation in Hawaii, an area particularly vulnerable to species becoming extinct because of habitat loss.

Pavlik kept a blog of his big year, which took him to Texas, Minnesota and other parts of the United States, at

The support for Pavlik’s project exceeded his expectations. On his blog, Pavlik wrote, “I thought I might get a few pledges from some close friends, and maybe a few more from conservation minded birders. However, as the year went on, it quickly became obvious that there was much more support for this type of project than I thought.”

Some of his most notable sightings in 2013 were a Hawaiian petrel in Monterey Bay, Calif.; a tropical parula in Texas; a great gray owl in Minnesota; a Ross’s gull in Iowa; an Arctic loon in California; a white-cheeked pintail in Florida; a boreal owl in Minnesota; and a Western spindalis and La Sagra’s flycatcher in Florida.

Anyone interested in buying a high-quality, matted print of any of the photos taken in Pavlik’s big year can email him at, although prints, he said, won’t be available for all photos due to image quality. Pavlik said he will donate a portion of all profits to the American Bird Conservancy for Hawaii bird conservation.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.