- This event has passed.
What is the World Series of Birding?
It’s a game, it’s a marathon, it’s a challenge, it’s a heck of a lot of fun!
Many great birders have raised glasses in this event. The first official World Series of Birding began at midnight on May 19, 1984, when just thirteen teams set out on a 24-hour treasure hunt. Their mission was to tally as many species of birds by sight or sound as possible. Their objective was to raise money for their favorite environmental cause, and to focus worldwide attention upon the habitat needs of migrating birds.
They succeeded beyond anyone’s dreams. Today there are thousands of participants, including donors and support team members, in the event and the event has grown into several categories and ways to play.
NJ Audubon Ambassador Challenge – Level II – for non-competing teams wishing to just have fun and raise funds for NJ Audubon
Zeiss Youth Challenge – Level III – for ages 6-18 within their respective school grades.
When is it?
This year on Saturday, May 13th, 2023 – rain or shine. Mark your calendars and start planning your strategy. Look under the Rules/Forms tab at Bird Conservation Challenge Ways to Play for detailed information.
Gather your teammates near and far and share in the excitement and camaraderie that is part of North America’s most celebrated conservation event – the World Series of Birding!
Why a World Series of Birding?
Over the past thirty-nine years, this event has changed the birding landscape, has brought birding to the attention of the media, and has raised approximately $10 million for bird conservation.
- It draws attention to the habitat needs of migrating birds, especially throughout the great State of New Jersey, which is at the crossroads of migration for many species at this specific time of year.
- It gives birders a chance to put their birding skills to use for a good cause.
- It brings together birders of all levels of experience, local conservation groups, schools and youth groups, and businesses that care about the environment.
- It generates a lot of money for conservation causes.
- It focuses global media attention upon the challenge, adventure, and fun of birding.
Where is it?
For the 40th Anniversary, we’re bringing the Level I Bird Conservation Challenge and the Level III Zeiss Youth Birding Challenge back to New Jersey. Level II NJ Audubon Ambassadors can participate anywhere IN THE WORLD!
During the event participants and their support teams can stop at the Sherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary (New Jersey Audubon headquarters) anytime from 10 am to 2 pm at the Zeiss Checkpoint, where there will be food and drink, and hopefully a few species to add to your tally.
New in 2023: THE SEVENTH INNING STRETCH
Teams ending their day in southern New Jersey are invited to meet at New Jersey Audubon’s Center for Research and Education anytime between 6 pm and 10 pm for some hot food at the Seventh Inning Stretch, which takes the place of the Finish Line. You can end your day here or stop in and keep on birding until midnight!
May 14th: AWARDS BRUNCH AND 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
The Awards Brunch will take place in the Grand Ballroom at the Grand Hotel of Cape May. Doors open at 9 am and remarks begin at 10 am sharp. Get your tickets as you register or separately by clicking on Participate above.
Who organizes it?
New Jersey Audubon’s World Series of Birding is organized and hosted by New Jersey Audubon, an independent, membership supported organization. The event is endorsed by the American Birding Association, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, and sponsored by numerous environmental, conservation-minded businesses and individuals.
What does NJ Audubon gain?
More energy, more event profile and more interest from potential sponsors – and teams. AND publicity. AND more money gets raised for conservation. New Jersey Audubon fields many teams, from center-based Century Runs, to mission-based teams supporting our conservation efforts, and our wonderful Birding Ambassador Teams, who raise money for New Jersey Audubon and approach the World Series of Birding with their own team.
For those raising money for New Jersey Audubon, it’s easy! Register, create your web page, and your supporters can pledge and/or donate online right through the WSB website.
What do other organizations gain?
Here’s the thing. If you want to raise money for your environmental cause or organization, all you have to do is register your team in the World Series of Birding, pay the registration fees ($100 per team member), and after that, you collect ALL your donations. Use our online registration, create a web page and share it with your supporters. Just make sure you have organized your own pledge/payment system, and explain it clearly on your web page. We supply the platform and the publicity that makes this an extraordinary event. Many teams from environmentally-minded organizations use New Jersey Audubon’s World Series of Birding as a major fund raiser.
How does it work?
The World Series of Birding is a competitive “Big Day.” Teams have up to 24 hours (i.e. midnight to midnight) to count as many bird species as they can identify by sight or sound within their chosen WSB category. Each species seen or heard counts as one.
We lay the ground work, give you the playing field and the rules to follow. The rest is up to you. Please read all the information in the Rules/Forms tab of this website.
This year, teams will be able to use eBird to record their sightings throughout the day, and then submit their final list from their phones. Various species will be “flagged” for time and location, and the rules for rarities (aka “Write-ins”) will still apply and be submitted thru eBird. Any team wishing to compete for one of the Leve I or Level III awards MUST use eBird to submit their list.
How many birds could be seen?
Totals will vary according to weather conditions, cold fronts, the experience and skill of the teams, the locations of the team members, and luck (good and bad). Competing team totals have ranged from 48 to 229 with an average of 165 species within the state of New Jersey alone. The total cumulative number of species tallied by all teams in a given year jumped to 357 when we opened the event to other states in the Atlantic Flyway in 2020. The cumulative total in New Jersey since 1984 is 330 species. Let’s see if we add anything new in 2023!
What Can You Win?
No matter what the final tally, everyone wins, nobody loses, and you’ve helped the environment. The best prize is the satisfaction of knowing that you have done something positive for the environment by supporting conservation.
Bird Conservation Challenge – Level I
(Only Level I teams are eligible for these awards. All team members must be 19 years old or older to compete for any of these awards. All results must be submitted via eBird) Note these 3 top awards can be awarded to any Level I team with the highest numbers in NJ, and is not limited to teams who do the whole state.
presented to the team with the highest overall number of species within the state of New Jersey
Stone Award – 2nd Place
presented to the team with the 2nd highest overall number of species within the state of New Jersey
Stearns Award – 3rd Place
presented to the team with the 3rd highest overall number of species within the state of New Jersey
Big Stay Award – available to any Level I team
presented to the team with the highest total species seen from a single location in New Jersey
Wakefern Food Corp./ShopRite LGA Award – available only to NJ teams
presented to the team with the highest total species “par” for a single county Click Here for information on
re-evaluation of pars completed in 2021.
Cape May County Award – available only to NJ teams
presented to the team with the highest total species within Cape May County
Cape Island Cup – available only to NJ teams
presented to the team with the highest total species south of the Cape May Canal
Carbon Footprint Challenge – available to any Level I team
presented to the team with the highest total species with zero carbon footprint (on foot, bike, row, etc. but no motorized vehicles)
Teams competing in the Bird Conservation Challenge must build a team webpage, even if you are not raising money for NJ Audubon. Please introduce your team, talk about your cause, and provide information as to how people can pledge to your team. As long as the World Series of Birding branding requirements are followed you can include a link to your own organization’s online payment mechanism. Remember, NJ Audubon is promoting the entire WSB website. You never know who might connect with your cause.
NJ Audubon Ambassador Challenge – Level II
Zeiss Youth Challenge – Level III
presented to the team with the highest total species within Elementary School Grades 1 through 5
Zeiss Youth Division B Challenge
presented to the team with the highest total species within Middle School Grades 6 through 8
Zeiss Youth Division C – Pete Dunne Future Leaders in Birding Award
presented to the team with the highest total species within High School Grades 9 through 12
Zeiss Youth Division D – Carbon Free Kids Award
presented to the team in Grades 6 through 12 with the highest total species with zero carbon footprint (on foot, bike, row, etc. but no motorized vehicles)
Teams competing in this category are encouraged to build a team webpage, even if you are not raising money for NJ Audubon. Please introduce your team, talk about your cause, and provide information as to how people can pledge to your link. As long as the World Series of Birding branding requirements are followed you can include a link to your own organizations online payment mechanism.
What are you waiting for?
Consider joining the many individuals from all over the globe who have teams in this event. Learn logistical support from colleagues who have figured out how to do this after many years in the game. You can count on the help and expertise of veteran participants because sharing is the hallmark of the World Series of Birding.