Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Early America's Birdiest City/County Results From California

I have been checking out Don Roberson's web site quite a bit lately, to prepare for my trip next week to Monterey, but also because he has a lot of interesting stuff on there.

Check out his comprehensive report on Monterey's entry into the ABC competition, which took place this past weekend. Now *that*, my friends, is how to run a birding competition! Pretty unbelievable participation, and it sounds like they raised a lot of money, too.

The best part, though, is the footnote at the end where Don addresses the "rule changes" instituted for this year:
* = footnote: We'd beat Los Angeles and San Diego counties (and every other county in America!) almost every time there's been a head-to-head 24 hour event (the only exception was when a northern California team of experts on a serious Big Day basically did San Diego's event for them). So the San Diego ABC compiler changed the rules again to add extra days (it's rumored they'll expand to the whole month of April next year). This effectively made it impossible for a county with limited observers to compete head-to-head with the large populations in Los Angeles & San Diego counties. They can send out waves of birders day-after-day and give everyone results by email each night. This is exactly what happened this year. According to web reports, Los Angeles County had a total list in the 190s after their first 24 hours, a list in the high 240s after their second 24 hours, and finally passed our one-day total on their third day, reaching the 260s. This is getting fairly silly. ...
I've got to say that I agree with Don on this one. Now, obviously, Chicago ain't playing in the same league as Monterey and San Diego, but we are definitely going to be hurt (on the County side for sure) by this extended time period. Counties with lots of habitat and small numbers of birders will be able to do exactly what LAC did this year, turning the ABC into more of a census than a true Big Day competition.

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