The World Collection of Birding turns 40!


Have you ever ever recognized 200 fowl species in 24 hours? Wherever in North America or anyplace else? Forty years in the past, a bunch of birders figured it may very well be finished — in New Jersey of all locations! And so, the World Collection of Birding was born.

Keep in mind maps? They had been these unwieldy large folding paper issues that will by no means fold again to their authentic tidy containment. It wasn’t way back that they had been important to any journey to a spot we’d by no means been earlier than. Who didn’t love their huge previous DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer for connecting the dots between cities and counties? I do know I did! However now it’s all digital — the whole lot you might want to learn about getting round is at your fingertips.

This illustration by Luke Seitz will seem on this 12 months’s WSB t-shirts. You’ll be able to learn an announcement from the artist on the finish of this text.

Forty years in the past, a gaggle of skilled New Jersey birders had been attempting to determine how anybody might break the elusive file of figuring out 200 fowl species inside 24 hours inside the state of New Jersey. Huddled over their beers on the C-View Inn in Cape Could, an concept was hatching. They’d paper maps and paper checklists and books just like the Peterson Subject Information to Birds of North America. They might pinpoint areas for a few of the rarer species with pencil on their maps and hint out totally different routes to attempt to “get” these species along with the extra widespread ones. They already knew the very best method can be beginning within the north at midnight and dealing their manner south to Cape Could — for a full 24 hours of birding. 

Then it hit them. What if we introduce the aspect of competitors? There may very well be groups, and everybody goes out on the identical day throughout peak migration, irrespective of the climate! That’s a stage enjoying discipline and will the very best workforce win!

What hatched was New Jersey Audubon’s World Collection of Birding, which can happen for the fortieth time on Could 13, 2023. It began with 13 groups of seasoned and extremely aggressive birders all doing a full-state, 24-hour continuous journey. Now it’s a beloved custom open to birders of all ages and expertise.

Birdability’s Crew Nuthatch participates in final 12 months’s occasion. They’ll be returning this 12 months. Picture by Karen Sharp

Whereas over a dozen groups nonetheless embark on 24-hour odysseys, most contributors take part different methods, whether or not birding in a single spot, overlaying their dwelling counties, or going carbon-free, primarily daybreak to nightfall and even rather less. There are youth birding groups, too. It’s New Jersey Audubon’s largest fundraiser of the 12 months and it’s additionally a significant fundraising platform for any wildlife conservation group keen to pay a small entry price and conduct their very own marketing campaign. Remember to try the humorous workforce names.

And now when groups go away dwelling to start out their World Collection of Birding adventures, all they want is a smartphone. Armed with apps for navigation, group chats for sharing sightings, on-line fowl identification aids, and an official WSB guidelines system housed on Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird platform, there’s no want for pen and paper, a lot much less paper maps. And sure, groups do obtain totals of over 200 species!

However they do want snacks. Heaps and many snacks. And low. And birds, in fact. Come be a part of us!

Study extra, take part, and/or donate to your favourite workforce at and

Artist assertion

Luke Seitz, whose illustration will seem on the fortieth anniversary WSB t-shirt, wrote this assertion in regards to the art work: “Forty years of the World Collection of Birding — and forty years of modifications in fowl populations and distributions. Even simply since my first World Collection (on a youth workforce in 2008!), the variations are stunning. We used to want to stake out Yellow-bellied Sapsucker territories within the north…now it seems like the most typical woodpecker. Don’t neglect in regards to the Frequent Raven nest at Excessive Level! Now they’re breeding in Cape Could County. And the way can we not discuss White Ibis?!

“However together with huge will increase come even larger decreases, as we not-so-slowly wave goodbye to Golden-winged Warblers, Black Rails, Saltmarsh Sparrows…and we look forward to the approaching many years of change. What’s subsequent? My hope with this 12 months’s World Collection art work is to indicate a few of the modifications that we’ve confronted during the last forty years, with some birds fading into grayscale…whereas hopefully retaining a little bit of shade, a glimmer of hope as all of us resolve what the long run might maintain.”

Pete Dunne’s blueprint for a Huge Day

The Cape Could mystique

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