The World Series of Birding was established by the New Jersey Audubon Society in 1984 to help raise money for conservation. Since its inception the participants have raised a combined total of nearly $10,000,000. The Land Conservancy of New Jersey raises $16,000 - $20,000 each year through the support of our members for our World Series of Birding team. Every species found, every dollar raised preserves & protects critical bird habitat in New Jersey.
In 1984 there were only 13 teams. Now there are over 50 teams in every category. The objective of the day is to tally as many bird species as you can in a 24 hour period. This can be done by bicycle, boat, car, foot, in one county, in one spot (a deck) or a group can cover the entire state of New Jersey. You need to be skilled not only in the identification of about 200 species of birds; you must also know their songs and calls. A good majority of the bird species during that 24 hour period are heard and not seen (yes even in the dark!) You have to remain sharp for 24 straight hours if you want to tally 150 plus species for the day.
This is the 15th year in a row that a team from The Land Conservancy of New Jersey has participated in the World Series of Birding. Our Highlands Hawks team consists of Captain Dennis Briede (Conservancy Stewardship Manager), Alan Boyd and Stephen Kloiber. Dennis and Alan have been birding since 1980. Stephen is an exceptional birder and is only 18 years old. He joined the team last year and has been birding with Alan and Dennis for nearly a year.
It’s best to have a team that is familiar with each other because the team will be together from 10:00pm Friday night until 1:00am Sunday morning (27 hours or so). We will even eat in the vehicle between stops (cooler provided). Toyota/Lexus has been kind enough to lend the Conservancy a vehicle for the event. Last year the team drove over 600 miles by the end of the day. It is a fun event but at the same time it is very grueling.
The most important key is the route. Most of the really high scoring groups start in north Jersey and end up at Cape May by midnight. Usually the groups start out visiting swamps and wetlands from midnight until about 5:00am to hear the wetland birds such as bitterns, rails and ducks. Scouting is needed to find nesting hawks and owls. At dawn you need to find a place with diverse habitat to tally all of the various birds singing and calling in the early hours. From there you visit special spots that are host to some of the uncommon and more difficult species to find. Our team’s goal this year is to be on our way to south Jersey by 9:30am or there won’t be enough time to visit all of the special spots in that area. All teams must either email the results or report to the final meeting place by midnight or be disqualified.
Please help our Highlands Hawks team raise money for The Land Conservancy of New Jersey’s land preservation work. Please donate any amount you can. You can make a per-bird pledge online here (for example, $1 per bird). Our goal is to tally 200 species or more!