World Series of Birding will feature Photo Big Day, new sharing rules

World Series of Birding Poster_330x417We love May, and we especially love the World Series of Birding, hosted by New Jersey Audubon.

This year’s event will take place on Saturday, May 9. More than 70 teams of birders of all levels of expertise are expected to participate.

As in previous years, they will have up to 24 hours to count as many species as possible within the state of New Jersey. But this year, some of them will be competing with cameras, not just binoculars.

Birders who enter the Photo Big Day category will be challenged to count only those birds that can be identified solely from photographs. Just one member of each team needs to photograph a bird for it to be countable, and any still photography method is acceptable, including iPhones, digiscoping, SLR, and point-and-shoot.

And that’s not the only thing that’s new:

This year, teams will be allowed to share their sightings on open-source or globally accessible information platforms during the competition. This reverses a rule that prevented teams from sharing sightings in previous years.

So if you (like us) want to find out how a favorite team is doing during the Big Day, follow them on Twitter or Facebook, or look for their updates on eBird or another non-pay-for-service listserv or bird alert.

According to the new sharing rule, teams will be prevented from having someone scout ahead on the day of the event to tell them about stake-out birds, and personal communications between individuals on different teams, whether by mobile phone or text, will not be allowed. If a team wants to share a sighting, it has to do so in the broadest possible way, not among a small group.

New Jersey Audubon says the new rule will benefit teams overall, since they’ll help each other to succeed, and it will allow donors and supporters to keep abreast of their progress. We think it will reinforce the camaraderie and fun of the event, too.

The World Series raises more than $600,000 annually, and has raised $9 million over its 32-year history. The money is used to protect natural resources and preserve habitats that birds need. People can donate directly to the event or pledge an amount per bird species to their favorite team.

Sponsors of this year’s event include Swarovski Optik, Carl Zeiss Sport Optics, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

The registration deadline for teams was Friday, April 24. You can find additional details about the event at www.worldseriesofbirding.com.

Read about birding hotspots in New Jersey.

Check our calendar for other fun events taking place in May.