Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It's World Series time

Okay, so it's not the Yankees vs the Mets, but one could say it's the Cardinals vs. the Orioles. Yes, this Saturday is the World Series of Birding, sponsored by the New Jersey Audubon Society. Given that we give a fair amount of attention to the state's avian visitors here at Hidden New Jersey, I thought it appropriate to give a mention to this unique event that raises both awareness and funds for conservation efforts here in the state.

Essentially, teams of birders converge on the state to see how many bird species they can identify in a 24 hour period which, this year, is Saturday May 14. While some WSB teams will comb the state, driving hundreds of miles to find as many species as possible, others pick a specific geographic area, perhaps a given preserve or watershed. The really low key birders will stick to one location. I, for example, will spend an hour or two looking out my living room window with my cat, identifying whatever comes into our courtyard. I'm not expecting a big count there, but the best teams will see or hear more than 200 species over the 24 hours. Given that New Jersey is a key location on the Atlantic Flyway, it's a key rest stop for migrating birds, much like the Vince Lombardi Rest Area on the New Jersey Turnpike.

I'm obviously taking the easy route on this one, but Ivan's been busy flexing his optics and birdsong recognition as part of the Hackensack Riverkeeper team, the Hackensack RiverCreepers (never let it be said that birders don't enjoy a decent avian-related pun). They'll be spending the day combing the river's environs for any number of owls, raptors, songbirds, ducks, egrets, herons... you name it. If you're of a mind, consider making a per-species pledge, or even a single donation to support the cause. And certainly, if you happen to see a carload of very focused people wearing binoculars and seemingly racing to the next stand of trees, give them the right of way.

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