First Annual MRBC!
A version of this event report appeared on Antioch's website and in NH Audubon's NH Bird Records Fall 2019 issue.
On Saturday, September 14th, 2019 the Antioch Bird Club hosted its first competition for bird watchers in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire. Sponsored by various regional businesses, including the Monadnock Food Co-op, Achille Agway, Toadstool Bookstores, Bird Watcher’s Supply and Gift, Jake’s Market and Deli, and Moosewood Ecological LLC, this competition brought awareness to local fall bird species and raised over $2000 in fund for student-driven bird research, education, and conservation.
In total, 7 teams competed over 12 hours to tally 85 species. The winning team, The RAVENgers, saw 46 of these tallied species, all on Antioch University New England’s 4-acre campus.
The 25 participants, many of them Antioch University students, competed for glory in the cup or for recognition in competition categories. Winners were picked for the Fledglings category (less than 5 years birding experience), the Townie category (most species seen in a single town), and the Carbon Footprint challenge (fossil fuel free competition).
While Antioch students had a strong presence, they were far from the only contenders. A family team, Year of the Pink-footed Goose, travelled all the way from Scituate, MA to compete for their Big Year effort and composed a great blog post about their experience during the event. They placed 2nd in the competition with 44 species reported during their 12-hour journey across the Monadnock region!
A team also competed from the Harris Center for Conservation Education and the Pack Monadnock Raptor Observatory, tallying migrating hawks and songbirds from atop Pack Monadnock.
Warbler species made a strong appearance with 16 species recorded across the teams. Rarities included a Nashville Warbler, several Northern Parulas, a few Magnolia Warblers, and a Tennessee Warbler.
Additional species of note were an Eastern Screech Owl, a Great Egret, a Solitary Sandpiper, a Bald Eagle, and the MRBC mascot, the Golden-crowned Kinglet even made an appearance!
The funds raised were used to establish a Nocturnal Flight Call Station (NFCS) at the Glover's Ledge Outdoor Classroom in Langdon, NH. The NFCS will provide data on nighttime migrating birds and sound recordings for future student research.
The Antioch Bird Club is thrilled at the success of this event and is looking forward to hosting the cup again in the Fall of 2020.
Meet the Winners!
Not all event categories are represented below
Monadnock Food Co-op Green Challenge Winners: the Green-footed Boobies
Determined to have no carbon footprint, this team biked over 20 miles from Hinsdale to Keene, tallying birds all along the way!
They claimed some awesome bird-themed green socks to replace the ones they ruined biking in the rain.
Fledglings Winners: the Fledglings for Akresh
This team of amateur birders put the skills they were learning in their Ornithology course to use and claimed the Fledglings Award!
They took home a Sibley's Birding Basics guide to help them continue to hone their birding skills
Townie Winners: the MooseWoodpeckers
Sponsored by a local ecological consulting business, Moosewood Ecological, these birders took to the rural roads and forests of Stoddard to claim the competitive Townie award!
Their prize was a copy of Birdwatching in NH by local bird expert Eric Masterson.