Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The 2006 America's Birdiest City/County Contest Has Begun!!!

Folks, it's time to strap on your binoculars, grab your scopes, and fill the cooler with Mountain Dew, because the 2006 ABC is now underway!!!!

To my knowledge, the ABC (technically, it should be the "ABCCC", but we'll just stick with ABC) is the only North American birding competition that pits different cities and states against one another. Unlike the World Series of Birding, or the Great Texas Birding Classic, the ABC is not a "team" competition, it's more of a group or regional competition.

This year's rules allow a city or county to count any species seen over a three-day period. One person can go birding all three days and submit any species that was seen on any of the three days. This is a bit of a change from the past rules, and I suspect that this change will hurt Chicago, but will help a lot of other cities, because it will give localities with big areas of habitat more time to "clean up" and count every single bird. Of course, this also gives places like Chicago a longer window to hit on a "jackpot" migration day, so we'll have to wait and see who benefits the most from this rule change.

I heard throught the grapevine that some southern locales (like Dauphin Island in Alabama) have already held their competition, while a number of other cities (including San Diego, and probably any Texas and Florida entries) will pick this coming weekend for the three-day window.

So, all Chicago and Cook County IL birders should contact me ASAP so we can get ourselves organized. I think that we will be choosing May 19-21 as our window, but that is open for debate.

A bit of competition is always a good thing, so, since BINAC is read by birders all over the country, I am going to throw down a challenge: E-mail Phil Pryde (see below) and enter your damn city or county this year. It will be a lot of fun, and with a purpose, too, since you can use the ABC as either a fund-raising tool for your local bird club, or as a gereral awareness-raiser by using the local media. Or both.

So listen up, if you're in Duluth, or D.C., or NYC, or Houston, or Tampa, you need to get your lazy asses off of the couch and start planning. Kern County, Monterey County, Kings County, St. Louis County, San Diego County, are you guys ready to go, or what? I predict that the competition in the "Large Inland City" and "Inland Eastern County" categories will be especially heated this year.

Trash-talking is not only allowed, it is encouraged, so let the games begin!!!

Special thanks to Phil Pryde for organizing the competition again this year.

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