The World Collection of Birding turns 40!

Have you ever ever recognized 200 chook species in 24 hours? Wherever in North America or wherever else? Forty years in the past, a bunch of birders figured it may very well be completed — in New Jersey of all locations! And so, the World Collection of Birding was born.

Bear in mind maps? They had been these unwieldy big folding paper issues that may by no means fold again to their unique tidy containment. It wasn’t way back that they had been important to any journey to a spot we’d by no means been earlier than. Who didn’t love their huge outdated DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer for connecting the dots between cities and counties? I do know I did! However now it’s all digital — every part it’s good to find out about getting round is at your fingertips.

This illustration by Luke Seitz will seem on this yr’s WSB t-shirts. You may learn a press release from the artist on the finish of this text.

Forty years in the past, a bunch of skilled New Jersey birders had been attempting to determine how anybody might break the elusive document of figuring out 200 chook species inside 24 hours throughout the state of New Jersey. Huddled over their beers on the C-View Inn in Cape Might, an concept was hatching. That they had paper maps and paper checklists and books just like the Peterson Area Information to Birds of North America. They may pinpoint places for among the rarer species with pencil on their maps and hint out completely different routes to attempt to “get” these species along with the extra widespread ones. They already knew the perfect strategy can be beginning within the north at midnight and dealing their means south to Cape Might — for a full 24 hours of birding. 

Then it hit them. What if we introduce the aspect of competitors? There may very well be groups, and everybody goes out on the identical day throughout peak migration, regardless of the climate! That’s a stage taking part in area and will the perfect workforce win!

What hatched was New Jersey Audubon’s World Collection of Birding, which is able to happen for the fortieth time on Might 13, 2023. It began with 13 groups of seasoned and extremely aggressive birders all doing a full-state, 24-hour continuous journey. Now it’s a beloved custom open to birders of all ages and expertise.

Birdability’s Crew Nuthatch participates in final yr’s occasion. They’ll be returning this yr. Picture by Karen Sharp

Whereas over a dozen groups nonetheless embark on 24-hour odysseys, most members take part different methods, whether or not birding in a single spot, overlaying their dwelling counties, or going carbon-free, primarily daybreak to nightfall and even rather less. There are youth birding groups, too. It’s New Jersey Audubon’s largest fundraiser of the yr and it’s additionally a significant fundraising platform for any wildlife conservation group keen to pay a small entry charge and conduct their very own marketing campaign. You’ll want to try the humorous workforce names.

And now when groups go away dwelling to begin their World Collection of Birding adventures, all they want is a smartphone. Armed with apps for navigation, group chats for sharing sightings, on-line chook identification aids, and an official WSB guidelines system housed on Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird platform, there’s no want for pen and paper, a lot much less paper maps. And sure, groups do obtain totals of over 200 species!

However they do want snacks. Heaps and many snacks. And low. And birds, in fact. Come be a part of us!

Be taught extra, take part, and/or donate to your favourite workforce at and

Artist assertion

Luke Seitz, whose illustration will seem on the fortieth anniversary WSB t-shirt, wrote this assertion concerning the art work: “Forty years of the World Collection of Birding — and forty years of adjustments in chook populations and distributions. Even simply since my first World Collection (on a youth workforce in 2008!), the variations are surprising. We used to wish to stake out Yellow-bellied Sapsucker territories within the north…now it seems like the commonest woodpecker. Don’t neglect concerning the Frequent Raven nest at Excessive Level! Now they’re breeding in Cape Might County. And the way can we not discuss White Ibis?!

“However together with huge will increase come even larger decreases, as we not-so-slowly wave goodbye to Golden-winged Warblers, Black Rails, Saltmarsh Sparrows…and we look forward to the approaching a long time of change. What’s subsequent? My hope with this yr’s World Collection art work is to indicate among the adjustments that we’ve confronted over the past forty years, with some birds fading into grayscale…whereas hopefully retaining a little bit of shade, a glimmer of hope as all of us determine what the long run might maintain.”

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