The World Sequence of Birding turns 40!

Have you ever ever recognized 200 chicken 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 finished — in New Jersey of all locations! And so, the World Sequence of Birding was born.

Keep in mind maps? They had been these unwieldy big folding paper issues that might by no means fold again to their unique 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 previous DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer for connecting the dots between cities and counties? I do know I did! However now it’s all digital — the whole lot you have to find out about getting round is at your fingertips.

This illustration by Luke Seitz will seem on this yr’s WSB t-shirts. You may learn an announcement from the artist on the finish of this text.

Forty years in the past, a bunch of skilled New Jersey birders had been making an attempt to determine how anybody might break the elusive document of figuring out 200 chicken species inside 24 hours inside the state of New Jersey. Huddled over their beers on the C-View Inn in Cape Could, an concept was hatching. They’d paper maps and paper checklists and books just like the Peterson Area Information to Birds of North America. They might pinpoint places for a few of the rarer species with pencil on their maps and hint out completely different routes to attempt to “get” these species along with the extra widespread ones. They already knew the most effective method can be beginning within the north at midnight and dealing their method 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 taking part in area and should the most effective staff 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 Crew Nuthatch participates in final yr’s occasion. They’ll be returning this yr. Photograph 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, masking their dwelling 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 yr and it’s additionally a serious fundraising platform for any wildlife conservation group prepared to pay a small entry price and conduct their very own marketing campaign. Be sure you try the humorous staff names.

And now when groups depart dwelling to start out their World Sequence of Birding adventures, all they want is a smartphone. Armed with apps for navigation, group chats for sharing sightings, on-line chicken 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. Tons and many snacks. And low. And birds, after all. Come be a part of us!

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

Artist assertion

Luke Seitz, whose illustration will seem on the fortieth anniversary WSB t-shirt, wrote this assertion concerning the paintings: “Forty years of the World Sequence of Birding — and forty years of modifications in chicken populations and distributions. Even simply since my first World Sequence (on a youth staff 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 overlook concerning the Widespread 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 larger decreases, as we not-so-slowly wave goodbye to Golden-winged Warblers, Black Rails, Saltmarsh Sparrows…and we look forward to the approaching a long time of change. What’s subsequent? My hope with this yr’s World Sequence paintings is to indicate a few of the modifications that we’ve confronted during the last forty years, with some birds fading into grayscale…whereas hopefully retaining a little bit of colour, a glimmer of hope as all of us determine what the longer term might maintain.”

Pete Dunne’s blueprint for a Large Day

The Cape Could mystique

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