Saturday, March 10, 2007

Announcing the 2007 America's Birdiest City and County Competition

We were forwarded the following e-mail today regarding the 2007 ABC contest:

Hello to everyone,

I would like to welcome everyone back who has participated in the America's Birdiest City/County competition in the past and all newcomers, also. Before I go any further I would like to introduce myself.

My name is Mike Wilson and I live just west of Mobile, Alabama, about 45 miles north of Dauphin Island, Alabama. I am very honored that Phil Pryde has chosen me to coordinate the ABC/C competition. Phil has done a wonderful job setting up a birding competition that is fun to participate in and different from other counts around the country. I am not in this alone, however. Dr. John Porter, Executive Director of Dauphin Island Bird Sancturaries (DIBS) has offered the sevices of their organization and website. DIBS, formally known as Friends of Dauphin Island Audubon Society, was established in the mid 80's to protect and preserve the 165 acre Audubon Sanctuary on Dauphin Island. Since then they have grown and now work tirelessly in purchasing key bird habitat on the island, protecting it from future development. As everyone is aware, the biggest problem the birds face is loss of habitat. As a barrier island Dauphin Island a strategic stopover spot for migrating birds that need a safe place to rest and refuel. DIBS has purchased lots on the island that are diverse in habitat, ranging from tupelo gum swamp to wooded lots that are home to some of the oldest live oaks along the gulf coast.

We have not made any changes in the rules of the competition from last year. You can pick your 72 hour period in which to have your count between April 1 and May 31. When you have finished your count you will need to email the results to me. I will periodically send out emails as reminders and you are always welcome to email me with any questions you might have. I am including the city/county categories and the rules below. You can also visit the DIBS website for information.

We are having beautiful sping weather here on the Alabama gulf coast already and I'm exited about migration. I hope everyone has good weather and a great count!Let's go birding!


Here are the categories:

Large Coastal City (population over 100,000)
Large Inland City (population over 100,000)
Small Coastal City (population under 100,000)
Small Inland City (population under 100,000)
Inland Eastern County
Inland Western County
Coastal Gulf Coast County
Coastal Atlantic County
Coastal Pacific County

The Rules:In order to have all teams in the "America's Birdiest City" and "America's Birdiest County" ("ABC/C") competitions operating in the same manner, and to insure a "level playing field" for all participants, the following conventions have been developed to guide "ABC/C" teams in the field The main "rules of the game" are as follows:

1. All entrants must conduct their "ABC/C" Bird-a-thon between the dates of April 1 and May 31.

2. "ABC/C" competitors must record all bird identifications within the legal boundaries of their selected city or county. For "City" entrants, most automobile club and Thomas Bros. maps show city limits; birding in suburbs and in unincorporated areas is not permitted. For both City and County entrants, be sure that birds aloft and those identified by call are within your city or county's boundaries.

3. For coastal cities, the "birdable area" extends one mile (i.e., as far as you can scope) out into salt water (or Lake water) from the shore, or from offshore islands that are legally a part of the city or county involved. All birds counted must be identified from land (this rule results from a participants' poll taken in 2003, and mainly reflects the fact that the participants were not at all in agreement as to how far out into the ocean should be considered part of a city [or county]).

4. All cities or counties that enter will select a 72-hour bird-a-thon "window" for their count. You may have as many teams as you like and teams can have as many members as you like. All teams and participants are allowed to count the whole 72 hour window.

5. "ABC/C" bird-a-thon entrants can use any number of participants and teams they wish.

6. All birds, to be officially countable, must be positively identified as to species by sight or sound (the honor system is employed here). No "sps", please (i.e., no genera/family entries, such as "Loon, sp.").

7. Only ABA-approved birds are countable; no psilly psittacines, please!

8. Any rare birds encountered should be written up, just as at a Christmas count.

9. "ABC" Bird-a-thon teams respect private property and in general comply with all the "rules of birding ethics" that have been published by groups such as ABA or NAS.

10. "ABC" Bird-a-thon teams must promptly provide the coordinator (below) with a summary of their results that includes a complete list of all species identified. This write-up verifies your sightings and allows a credible comparison of results. The write-up must be received by the coordinator by May 31.