Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bloggerhead Kingbirds Ride Again

Regular readers may remember that last year I joined the Bloggerhead Kingbirds to compete in the Superbowl of Birding. If you have a good memory, you might remember that we acquitted ourselves well, finishing 6th in species and 7th in points, and we won a prize for earning the most points in Essex County. This weekend, we will be gathering in eastern Massachusetts once again to defend our Essex County title and attempt to win the whole thing.

What is the Superbowl of Birding? It is an annual competition sponsored by Massachusetts Audubon. Teams compete to see the most species and earn the most points within a 12-hour period (5 am to 5 pm). Unlike the World Series of Birding, in which every species counts the same, bird species are worth from 1 to 5 points, depending on how common they are, with extra points possible for the first team to report a 5-point species. All species must be recorded in Essex County, Massachusetts, or Rockingham County, New Hampshire.

So who else is on this year's team? To find out, you will have to visit Feathers and Flowers, the blogging home of one of my teammates. Mike blogs with the authority of an experienced ornithologist about such important topics as the mass death of blackbirds in Arkansas and what bird-related costumes not to wear for Halloween. Mike is also a dedicated eBird user. In addition to maintaining his own daily lists, he made sure that all of our sightings from last year's competition were properly recorded, with complete eBird checklists for each location that we visited. Last year, he brought an extra spotting scope along with him, which allowed me to have use of a scope for the competition day. So go visit Mike's blog to learn more about this year's team!