Tuesday, September 4, 2007

World Series of Birding meets Point Pelee? Why Not?

As any birder knows, each year during the month of May, birders from coast to coast compete in the state of New Jersey from mindnight to midnight to see who can see the most species of birds in 24 hours. Not only is this a competition for top birders to prove their skills, but sponsers pledge money as well that goes towards conservation. The event raises more than $500,000 for bird conservation annually. Birders can paricipate as individuals or as a team, and prizes are awarded for different categories, such as for best competing team, youth team, and photography team. This event is organized by the New Jersey Audubon society.
In the past, experienced birders from this area including Tom Hince and Paul Pratt claimed the Gold for team Kowa.

So the question is raised, why don't we have the equivilant of the World Series of Birding here in the Pelee region? In fact it should include all of Essex County. We have very similar habitat as that of Cape May, New Jersey, except they have Delaware Bay that goes into the Atlantic, and we have a Great Lake. Cape May has one of the best places in North America for hawk watching, so do we at Holiday Beach and along the north shore of Lake Erie.

So then another question is raised. What time of year should we have a World Series of Birding here? Though May has the highest concentrations of birds, it also has the highest concentration of people. Our fall migration lasts a little longer with less concentration of birds, however we seem to get more unusual species at this time, and we have more of a hawk migration in the fall as well. Fall migration, it seems also has less visitors, so this would be the perfect oppurtunity to increase the potential of the fall migration in this area, and of course, to raise money towards conservation efforts here as well.

I beleive that mid October would be idea for a World Series of Birding in our area.

What area should this competition cover? I'll let you decide. Should it just be Essex County? But that leaves out Wheatley Provincial Park, St. Clair and Rondeau which are also great spots. How about Essex and Kent County combined?

The time length? 24 hours is what they do in Cape May, New Jersey, but I think from dawn until after dusk seems efficient.

Let me know what you think, and any suggestions would be appreciated.

Good birding,

1 comment:

  1. I think it's a great idea, especially in attempting to boost the popularity of fall migration in Essex County, which is superb...and ignored.

    Mid-October would probably be the best for hawks when most species can be seen, so that would be great for a count. For warblers though, September might be a lot more rewarding.

    As far as duration, I would say to go ahead and do 12-12. It just makes it more interesting and a bit more competitive. It would be up to the team whether or not they want to start at midnight or not...if it was to actually start though, a World Series of Birding would probably have to be dawn-dusk to attract more people maybe? I'm not sure.

    There are also a lot of local destinations that would also benefit from an event like this (Pelee Island Winery as a sponsor anyone?). You're probably right that May would be a rough time to hold it though...there's already enough craziness going on that month!