NJ Audubon’s World Series of Birding

DVOC teams have won the Urner Stone Cup (highest species total) 11 times!
1985, 1999, 2000(tie), 2001(tie), 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010 (tie), 2011

Competitors jostle for position at the starting point, equipment is adjusted and watches are checked. At the stroke of midnight, the race begins. It’s not a late-night track meet, but the World Series of Birding, where teams compete fiercely, but wildlife is the biggest winner.

It all began decades ago in May 1984, when a few teams set out on a 24-hour treasure hunt. Their objective was to tally as many birds as possible in NJ, raise money for their favorite environmental cause, and increase awareness of the habitat needs of migrating birds. They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, as their love of birding spawned the World Series of Birding, now attracting over a thousand participants annually, and focusing national media attention on the need to protect birds and their habitats. In the past 20 years, the WSB has raised over $8 million for conservation.

Sponsored by NJ Audubon, the competition takes place on many levels. Teams can choose to bird the entire state or just one county; teams can compete against their age peers; or teams can raise pledges without lifting binoculars. The goal remains the same for everyone: to identify the most bird species in New Jersey in a 24-hour period, and raise money for conservation in the process.

As a club full of dedicated, enthusiastic and yes, competitive birders, it comes naturally for DVOC to participate in the WSB – sometimes with two teams. Each year the DVOC team works hard to maximize the number of species identified on the Big Day. Scouting, planning (and the right snacks) make a big difference in the final totals, but luck plays a part too. You never know exactly what you’ll find on the Big Day, but it helps to know what could or should be there. Teams can begin or end their day anywhere in the state, but many begin at the Great Swamp NWR in northern NJ, finding owls, rails, bitterns and dawn warblers, before heading south for shorebirds, raptors, gulls, terns and anything else that might be had. Cape May is the ultimate destination, where teams gather after the 24-hour birding marathon to share stories, jokes and mishaps (think broken-down vehicles, fingers smashed in van doors, and grabbing your spouse’s too-small waders instead of your own).

DVOC is proud to have garnered first, second or third prize in the World Series of Birding every year since 1998. We share our scouting notes and birding tips with other teams, with the ultimate goal of maximizing fundraising for conservations.

Check the photos, reports and lists below, to see how the DVOC teams have fared in past years. And pledge generously, as DVOC donates the proceeds from our WSB fundraising to a local conservation project each year. (Debbie Beer 2009, revised by webmaster 2012)

Reports By Year

Reports by Year
  2013 DVOC Loons
    Team Page
    Checklist and Report
  2012 DVOC Loons
    Team Page
  2011 Nikon / DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes
    Lagerhead Shrikes Birding Blog
    2011 Presentation at the DVOC Meeting of 5/19/11
    2011 Scouting Notes

At the World Series of Birding Awards Brunch on Sunday May 15, 2011, as part of the awarding of the Urner-Stone Cup to the Nikon/DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes, Captain Paul Guris made this statement –

“This event has been a major part of our lives. Mike [Fritz] and I have literally been doing it for more than half of our lives. Zach [Baer] was once a fresh-faced Nikon youth team member. Bert [Filemyr] has spent the better part of his retirement with us. We’ve had a cast of other characters on the team such as Eric Pilotte, Adrian Binns, Bill Stocku, Megan Edwards (now Crewe), Rick Mellon and Julian Hough. So it is with very mixed emotions that I’m announcing the retirement of the current incarnation of the Nikon/DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes. DVOC may still field a team in the future, and one or more of our faces may pop back up, but it’s time for this particular group to call it quits.”

  2010 Nikon / DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes
    Lagerhead Shrikes Birding Blog
    2010 Pictures from the event
    2010 Presentation at the DVOC Meeting of 5/20/10
    2010 Scouting Notes
  2009 Nikon / DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes
    2009 Pictures from the event
    2009 Presentation at the DVOC Meeting of 5/21/09
    2009 Scouting Notes
  2008 Nikon / DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes
    2008 Presentation at DVOC meeting on 5/15/08
    2008 Scouting Notes
  2007 Nikon / DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes
    2007 Presentation at DVOC meeting on 5/17/07
    2007 Scouting Notes
  2006 Nikon / DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes
    2006 Scouting Notes
    2006 Report by Adrian Binns
    2006 Pictures by Adrian Binns
  2005 Nikon / DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes
    2005 Report by Paul Guris
    Images from the WSB – 2005 Dry Run for Youth Birders
    Images from the WSB – 2005
    Post WSB Presentation – 5/19 DVOC Meeting
  2004 Nikon / DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes
    Post WSB Presentation – DVOC Meeting
    Images from the WSB – 2004 Dry Run for Youth Birders
    Upper Main Line Youth Birding Teams
    Images from the WSB -2004
  2003 Nikon / DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes
  2002 Nikon / DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes
  2001 Nikon / DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes
  2000 Nikon / DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes
    Report in the Autumn 2000 Larus
  1999 Nikon / DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes
    Report in the Autumn 1999 Larus
  1998 Nikon / DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes
    Report in the Fall 1998 Larus
  1990 DVOC-1
    Report in the Fall 1990 Larus
    Report in the Spring 1991 Larus
  1990 DVOC-2
    Report in the Fall 1990 Larus
  1985 DVOC WSB Team
    Report in the Summer 1985 Larus
  1984 DVOC WSB Team
    Report in the September 1984 Larus