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, 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. While species checklists can be submitted via email, all teams and participants are encouraged to attend the post-competition celebration held at Antioch University New England (40 Avon Street, Keene, New Hampshire, 03431). Pizza, beverages, and goodie bags will be handed out starting at 5:30 pm, and the Awards Ceremony will commence at 6:00 pm.
Rain or shine, this event will take place on Saturday, September 14th. 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.
Registration closes at midnight on September 13th
Register by September 2nd to get an event t-shirt
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 payments must be processed through the University. But don’t worry - 100% of registration fees, sponsorships, and donations go directly to funding the Monadnock Region Birding Cup and ornithological research grants administered by the Antioch Birding Club, and are also all tax-deductible.
Fees, sponsorships, and donations can be made 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.
Go to the Antioch University donation page and fill out the required information. Enter your team registration fee, sponsorship, or donation amount into the Gift Amount box. Then, click the circle next to “I would like to choose a specific fund”. In the window that pops up, scroll down to Antioch University New England and select the option titled “AUNE - Antioch Bird Club”. In the next section, select “One-time gift”, and fill out the remaining required information.
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.