Today, as you read this (assuming you aren’t reading this on Sunday), teams of birders are covering the state of New Jersey like a Merlin on a mudflat. From midnight to midnight the game is to find the most species in the entire state, or counties or sit circles depending on the race you choose to run. Top list wins.
It’s the 28th iteration of the World Series of Birding, a fundraiser for New Jersey Audubon that has become the premier competitive birding event in the world and well-known part of the birding culture in North America.
The ABA Tropicbirds won’t be participating this year as in year’s past, so the ABA doesn’t have a rooting interest in the competition for 2011, but fortunately ABA members, or any interested party, can still follow along with several teams through the magic of – by which I mean the proliferation and use of – social media. A few teams have blogs updating readers on their scouting, even if not the actual madness of the day. Both the Scarlet Knight-Herons from Rutgers University and the Highland Hawks from The Land Conservancy of NJ are running the statewide race. The Anti-Petrels of Cornell Lab of Ornithology are doing the green Big Day, traveling exclusively under their own power, and the Meadowland Marsh Hawks of the Meadowlands Commission is focusing solely on Bergen County. If there are any other team blogs out there, Id love to heard about them.
But the best option for up to the minute updates from any team on the web is to search Twitter for the #WSOB tag. A surprising number of teams and scouts are tweeting their findings, along with GPS and photographs, and will continue throughout game day. It’s a fun way to follow the competition as it happens without having to devote 24 to 27 straight hours to do it.
Good luck to all the participants this year! I look forward to following along!
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