Team Sapsucker, the Cornell Lab’s competitive birding team, is scouring the Texas back roads for Black-capped Vireos, Rock Wrens, and Green Jays. They have two days of scouting left before they make their attempt at the North American Big Day record. For 24 hours, from midnight to midnight on Friday, April 22, they will race through Texas’s hill country, rice country, and Gulf beaches to try to break the current record of 261 species. They’ll need to average almost 11 new species per hour!
They’re going all out because the Big Day is also a push to raise money for the Cornell Lab’s conservation work. Thousands of people pledge either a flat total or a set amount per species—10 cents, 25 cents, a dollar—so the bigger the Sapsuckers’ list gets the more money gets raised. In the last quarter-century, Team Sapsucker has raised a total of more than $2.7 million for conservation. Learn more about this year’s route and see some of the birds they hope to find in the video, above.
Oh, and keep your eyes peeled—you can enter your own contest to win a pair of Nikon Monarch binoculars, a Cornell Lab fleece vest, or a Cornell Lab ball cap. Just answer three questions correctly and you’ll be entered to win. Thanks to Wild Birds Unlimited at Sapsucker Woods for providing the prizes.
We’re only about 60 hours away from the main event. Let’s wish Team Sapsucker good luck—you can follow their progress on Facebook.