The World Sequence of Birding turns 40!

Have you ever ever recognized 200 hen species in 24 hours? Wherever in North America or wherever else? Forty years in the past, a bunch of birders figured it could possibly be performed — in New Jersey of all locations! And so, the World Sequence of Birding was born.

Bear 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 Who didn’t love their massive outdated DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer for connecting the dots between cities and counties? I do know I did! However now it’s all digital — all the pieces you’ll want to find out about getting round is at your fingertips.

This illustration by Luke Seitz will seem on this 12 months’s WSB t-shirts. You possibly can learn a press release from the artist on the finish of this text.

Forty years in the past, a bunch of skilled New Jersey birders had been attempting to determine how anybody may break the elusive report of figuring out 200 hen species inside 24 hours throughout the state of New Jersey. Huddled over their beers on the C-View Inn in Cape Could, an concept was hatching. That they had paper maps and paper checklists and books just like the Peterson Discipline Information to Birds of North America. They might pinpoint places for among the rarer species with pencil on their maps and hint out totally different routes to attempt to “get” these species along with the extra frequent ones. They already knew one of the 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 could possibly be groups, and everybody goes out on the identical day throughout peak migration, regardless of the climate! That’s a stage enjoying area and will one of the best crew win!

What hatched was New Jersey Audubon’s World Sequence 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 Staff 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 members take part different methods, whether or not birding in a single spot, protecting their house 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 serious fundraising platform for any wildlife conservation group keen to pay a small entry price and conduct their very own marketing campaign. Make sure to try the humorous crew names.

And now when groups go away house to begin their World Sequence of Birding adventures, all they want is a smartphone. Armed with apps for navigation, group chats for sharing sightings, on-line hen 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 plenty of snacks. And low. And birds, in fact. Come be part of us!

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

Artist assertion

Luke Seitz, whose illustration will seem on the fortieth anniversary WSB t-shirt, wrote this assertion in regards to the paintings: “Forty years of the World Sequence of Birding — and forty years of adjustments in hen populations and distributions. Even simply since my first World Sequence (on a youth crew 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 commonest 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 massive will increase come even greater decreases, as we not-so-slowly wave goodbye to Golden-winged Warblers, Black Rails, Saltmarsh Sparrows…and we stay up for the approaching a long time of change. What’s subsequent? My hope with this 12 months’s World Sequence paintings is to point out among the adjustments that we’ve confronted during the last forty years, with some birds fading into grayscale…whereas hopefully retaining a little bit of coloration, a glimmer of hope as all of us resolve what the long run may maintain.”

Pete Dunne’s blueprint for a Huge Day

The Cape Could mystique

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