The 26th Annual World Series of Birding happened on Saturday, May 9th, with outstanding results. Overall, birders tallied 269 species in a single 22-hour period from midnight Friday to 10 p.m. Saturday. The Lagerhead Shrikes of the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club had the highest team score, with 229 species. In second place, with 223 species was the Foundation for Avian Research & Education.
Our own Team Sapsucker placed third with 221 species, the highest total of any out-of-state team. It was an amazing result for a team whose van blew a tire at 2:30 a.m., putting them 90 minutes behind schedule after a rescue by friends of the team Ken Rosenberg and Dennis Miranda.
Their luck didn’t stop there, and by 10:50 a.m., the team was on their fourth vehicle of the day—minus their sandwiches, extra clothing, and spotting scope, which had to be left behind in another car so the whole team could squeeze into the first sedan. Check the team’s Twitter posts for more details of the frantic day.
Among other results:
- The Cornell student team (the Redheads) took the award for most birds in Cape May County with 187 species
- France Dewaghe (our All About Birds programmer) and his father, Gerry Dewaghe, won the Swarovski Digi Camera Award for most species photographed (125 species, including the Prairie Warbler above).
- The Carbon Footprint Award went to team Ridin’ Birdy, who checked off 132 species without the use of a motorized vehicle
- Birding has a very bright future. Student teams in grades 9-12, 6-8, and 1-5 scored an amazing 215, 158, and 117 species respectively
So far, Team Sapsucker and The Redheads have raised $196,453 in pledges and donations, thanks to the uncommon generosity of supporters of Cornell Lab of Ornithology and eBirders! If donations continue to come in, the teams could break their $200,000 record! (You can help here.) Every cent goes to support conservation and student research programs here at the Lab, thanks to our sponsor, Swarovski Optik, which covers all the teams’ expenses.
Thanks very much to everyone who supported the teams by helping in the fundraising efforts or making personal donations. Congratulations to Team Sapsucker, the Redheads, team Dewaghe—and of course to the Lagerheads—and all the other World Series competitors!
For complete Big Day results, visit the Cape May Bird Observatory World Series of Birding website at
See this Associated Press article about the Big Day, with photos of Team Sapsucker in action:
Image: A Prairie Warbler photographed by France Dewaghe during the World Series. France attributes the great composition of the Prairie Warbler shot to serendipity. Most photos taken the day of the event, he says, look more like this:
Do you know what species it is?