Bird-Watchers Migrate to the World Series of Birding
"Competitors jostle for position at the starting point, equipment is adjusted and watches are checked. At the stroke of midnight, the race begins," the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club's Web site explains. "Teams compete fiercely, but wildlife is the biggest winner."
And when they say "fierce," say it with the conviction of Tyra Banks. The rules are strict. Dead or caged birds and eggs don't count. You can use recordings of birds to ID the species, but not to call them. And, no lifelines: you can't get help from the Internet, rare bird alerts or by calling friends by phone.
This year a local team, the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club Lagerhead Shrikes, took first place on May 9, finding a whopping 229 species! They spied dozens of different types of ducks, six species of owl and about 30 kinds of warblers. We have a suggestion for next year's contest: Twitter tweets from the scene!