8 teams competed in the 2020 cup!
Congratulations to our winners!
Carbon-footprint Challenge: SETOPHAGA with 46 species
Fledglings: GEESE LIGHTNING with 43 species
Big Sit: PACCIPITERS with 40 species at Pack Monadnock in Peterborough
Townie: GONE PISHING with 67 species in Hinsdale
And your 2020 MRBC champions are....
the NO PETROL PETRELS with 86 tallied species!!
Congratulations also to our additional participating teams THE LOONATIC and the GOAL FINCHES who came in with 14 and 20 species respectively.
Please consider a donation to support future events and student research opportunities.
Why Bird the Monadnock Region?
Located in southwest New Hampshire, the Monadnock Region is perhaps the best-kept birding secret in the Granite State. From the summit of Mount Monadnock, the most-climbed mountain in the United States, to the shores of the Connecticut River and everywhere in-between, the Monadnock Region offers superb birding opportunities to both beginning and advanced birders alike.
Each September during the peak of fall migration, countless numbers of waterfowl, raptors, and songbirds pour through the area, joining an already stunning array of bird species that call the Monadnock Region home. Over 180 species of birds have been identified in the Monadnock Region during the month of September, including 14 species of waterfowl, 12 species of shorebirds, 17 species raptors, and 27 species of “confusing” fall-plumaged warblers.
Within the Monadnock Region are numerous birding hotspots recognized on local-, state-, and continental-scales. Two shining examples of this include the Middle Connecticut Important Bird Area (IBA) (Cheshire County) and Pack Monadnock, located in Miller State Park (Hillsborough County- Peterborough). Stretching along the entire western border of Cheshire County (and beyond), the Middle Connecticut IBA is used by a wide variety of waterfowl during migration and is one of the state’s best areas for viewing Common Nighthawks during fall migration. Situated within the Wapack Range, Pack Monadnock is the best place to view migrating raptors in the state and there is no better time than September when thousands of Broad-winged Hawks and other species of raptors could be viewed in a single outing!
In addition to spectacular birding opportunities, the Monadnock Region is home to breathtaking landscapes, picturesque towns, and quintessential New England culture. From famed hiking trails to secret swimming holes, artist retreats to covered bridges, sugar shacks to upscale dining, most everything New England is famous for can be found in the Monadnock Region. Once you experience the Monadnock Region, you will understand why it is New Hampshire’s best-kept secret!
Over the course of 12 hours, beginning at 5:00 am, individuals and teams of birders will scour the Monadnock region for birds. The goal? To identify as many species by sight or sound as possible and raise funds for student-driven bird conservation and research.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are canceling the dinner and awards ceremony at Antioch University New England. Instead of in-person submission of species lists, checklists will be submitted digitally by team captains, and all teams and participants will be notified of the winners the day following the competition. Please see our official 'Rules of Competition' for MRBC social distancing and COVID-19 precautions. Finally, we encourage all those that want to participate, but are concerned about COVID-19, to consider competing in our 'Big Sit' category from the safety of your own home.
Rain or shine, this event will take place on Saturday, September 12th. So mark your calendars, gather a team, and start your strategizing. Not from the area? Check out eBird for the most species-diverse places to visit and likelihood of detecting certain species.
Download a copy of the Rules of Competition here and copy of the MRBC species list here.
Registration closes at midnight on September 11th
Monadnock Region Birding Cup
The main event! This is awarded to the team that counts the most bird species between 5am and 5pm the day of the competition
Carbon Footprint Challenge
A green contest where teams cannot not use any fossil fuels during the 12-hour competition. Get creative; bike, canoe, skateboard! The team with the most species counted will win, but all will be recognized for their environmental awareness efforts. To level the playing field, electric vehicles and other motorized equipment are off-limits. Cars may be used for transportation prior to 5am and after the team decides to finish competing.
Brand new to birding? This category is for you! Each team must have a maximum of five years combined birding experience. The team with these qualifications and the highest species tally will win.
A stationary bird count where the team will create or imagine a 17-foot circle and birdwatch from within. Birds must be viewed from within the circle but can be physically outside the circle. Grab a scope and some chairs and join in the tailgating of birding! The team with the most birds counted from within a circle will win.
Due to the regional nature of our competition, a town-centric category is available for those that want to count as many birds as they can within the boundaries of one town within the Monadnock Region.
All team members of this category must be younger than 18 years of age. Mentors are allowed for this team to drive underage participants and verify identifications of team members, but cannot point out or identify birds themselves. The winning team will tally more species than all other youth team.
Due to Antioch Bird Club’s affiliation with Antioch University, all donations must be processed through the University. But don’t worry - 100% of registration fees, sponsorships, and donations (all tax-deductible) go directly to funding the Monadnock Region Birding Cup and ornithological research grants administered by the Antioch Birding Club.
Fees, sponsorships, and donations can be submitted using the following options:
Mail a check to “Antioch Bird Club, Antioch University, 40 Avon Street, Keene, NH 03431”. Please make sure “Antioch Bird Club” is written in the check’s memo line.
Visit Antioch University's online donation portal, enter your one-time gift amount, and select "AUNE Antioch Bird Club" from the Designation drop-down menu. Please write "Monadnock Region Birding Cup" in the comments box.
Due to reduced operating costs and space to advertise, we are not actively looking for sponsorships for the 2020 competition. However we are hopeful that next year, we can resume our in-person event and raise money for student scholarships again.
If you or your business are able to donate any amount to support this year's event and future student scholarships, please contact us!
Antioch Bird Club
The Antioch Bird Club (ABC) was founded in April 2016 at Antioch University New England in Keene, NH. Originally formed as a means for students interested birding to share experiences, the club has had a meteoric rise ever since. Since its inception, the club has grown to include dozens of current students, faculty, and staff from Antioch University New England, as well as alumni living all around the world.
Now a pillar of bird conservation within the Monadnock Region, ABC hosts local and regional birding trips for students, as well as walks, presentations, and workshops for the local community. Since 2016, ABC has also formed critical relationships with many of the area’s top conservation organizations and events including New Hampshire Audubon, the Harris Center for Conservation Education, Cheshire County Conservation District, the Monadnock Food Co-op (Earth Festival), and the Monadnock Ecological Research & Education Project (Meet the Mountain Day). The Monadnock Region Birding Cup is now the crown jewel of ABC’s efforts to raise awareness about birds and birding, as well as conservation issues, in the Monadnock Region.
Moving forward, ABC looks to remain a bastion for avian conservation in the region, including offering scholarship opportunities for Antioch students interested in birds and providing state-of-the-art equipment to assist in ornithological research. To help with these efforts, all proceeds from the Monadnock Region Birding Cup (above and beyond the cost of running and maintaining the event) will go back to assisting the Antioch Bird Club in its efforts to provide opportunities for future students to study, conserve, and save our native birds. For more information on the designation for this year’s funds, please visit here.