This weekend marks the 36th World Series of Birding–a 24 hour Easter Egg Hunt for mature eggs of a feathered kind. Hosted by New Jersey Audubon, played out in New Jersey’s Green Arena. Over 250 species will be tallied by all participants, a princely sum.
As the event’s founder I want to offer my well wishes to all participants and to remind them to be, at all times, safe and courteous. When we don binoculars we become ambassadors for birding. Do us proud and do be mindful that when you do a New Jersey “Big Day” you bind yourself to a tradition that goes back to the 1920s and 30s when Charles Urner of New Jersey and Ludlow Griscolm of Connecticut laid the foundation for this cherished tradition.
Birding against an established par of 164, Ghas and company would start in the Troy Meadows, head for the Hills around Boonton at dawn and finish at Holgate refreshed by a dip in the Ocean, their spirits elevated by the American Oystercatchers that capped off their day and bred on Holgate.
There was no Brigantine NWR yet.
So in the pioneering spirit of Urner and Griscolm, I encourage all New Jersey residents to head out on May 11, 2019 and keep the Big Day spirit alive. See how many bird species you can tally in a morning or a day. You need not be an expert birder. You need only go out and gather birds by sight and sound. Set a goal of ten
Duck, goose, swan, pigeon, robin, cardinal, sparrow, some other kind of duck, Turkey Vulture and Blue Jay, Ten!
Take along a non-birding neighbor or friend, Introduce them to an exciting pastime.
Make it an annual tradition and next year try and better your best. Who knows, some day you may even give Urner and Griscolm a run for their money.
Author Birds of Prey and coauthor Hawks in Flight