This Saturday is the NJ Audubon World Series of Birding, a major fund-raiser for this worthy and hard-working NFP organization. Teams come from all over the world to participate in this 24-hour, bird-all-over-the-state competition, and the group with the most species seen and heard gets an awesome prize, and NJ Audubon gets a big chunk of change. Win-Win.
You are supposed to get family, friends and co-workers to pledge a certain amount of money per species (the suggested pledge is $1.00 per). My team, the Passaic County Peewees, is doing a Century Run, which means we will work (play?) for 12 hours nonstop and will probably tally over one hundred species by the end of the day. Many of my friends and family are struggling and/or have lost their jobs, so I will just write my own check and hope that will help a little.
I have not participated for two years and am looking forward to spending dawn to dusk wandering the woods and trails, parking lots and reservoirs, to get sweaty, dirty, muddy and gooey with a bunch of other people who want to do the same thing, just to look at birds. “How many do we have now?” will be the mantra of the day.
The hardest part will be climbing out of bed in the middle of the night to search for owls. If I don’t do this I will regret it when the others carry on about the Great Horned Owl on the pine branch, or the Screech peering out of a hole or hearing the Barred Owl cooking for you. So on Friday night, I will get myself organized, put the scope and the binoculars and the bird guide in the car along with the sunscreen, Deep Woods Off, water, snacks and camera. I hate to forget anything.
If you are planning on driving ANYWHERE in New Jersey this Saturday, keep an eye out for a lot of crazy birders motoring around with eyes akimbo. Maybe count them, and donate a dollar per birder to NJ Audubon….
Will let you know how we fare!