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eBird Update
May 21, 2010

Dear eBirder,
(Note: Because of a problem with our email distribution system, you may have received test versions of this message yesterday afternoon. It was an embarrassing error, and we apologize for the inconvenience and confusion it may have caused! We’re trying again. Thanks for your understanding.)

As captain of eBird’s World Series of Birding team, I’ve recently returned from New Jersey, where our team gave it their all in the 24-hour competition to find the most species. We crossed the finish line with fantastic results, and now I hope you’ll help us achieve our most important goal–raising funds to continue making eBird possible.

A Wealth of Warblers, a Dearth of Ducks, and Missing Species #225

After surviving a week of scouting through rain and wind, we tallied 224 species on the Big Day, earning the Stone Award for the second-highest total. (The winning tally was 228.) It was quite an adventure, from the first species (Barred Owl at midnight) to the last (Black Rail at 11:28 the following night). Because the competition was later in the month than usual, all the teams had trouble finding lingering ducks and early-season migrants, many of which had departed. Our plans to stake out birds such as Ruff, Wilson’s Phalarope, and Ruddy Duck were foiled by a strong migration on the night before the competition. So we threw our plans to the wind and went with “birding by intuition” to snag gettable species, including Bay-breasted Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Black-throated Blue Warbler in the north, and Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, and Kentucky Warbler in the south.
A special highlight was our first-ever Big Day Mississippi Kite. The low point was when we realized that in the frantic last moments of the day, we neglected to include our 225th species (Monk Parakeet) on our checklist–even though we had made a special detour to see it!
Please visit our website to read the full story or to pledge your support for eBird. You can also donate by calling (866) 989-BIRD. Because sponsor Swarovski Optik covers the team’s expenses, all of your gift supports eBird. Any amount truly helps in our efforts to maintain eBird and improve it, making it ever more powerful for birders, scientists, and conservationists. Thanks for your support, on behalf of the entire eBird staff!

Chris Wood
Photo credits: Team Sapsucker with the Stone Award (from left to right, Brian Sullivan, Marshall Iliff, Chris Wood, Jessie Barry, Tim Lenz, and Andy Farnsworth), photo by Julia Freeman. Mississippi Kite by Brian Sullivan.

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