On Saturday, September 14th, 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 funds for future Antioch student bird conservation research.
In total, 7 teams competed over 12 hours, tallying 85 species. The winning team, the RAVENgers, saw 46 of these tallied species, all on Antioch’s New England 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, traveled 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 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. Please visit the Monadnock Region Birding Cup website for up-to-date information on the competition.
Antioch Bird Club also hosts bird walks and lectures in the Cheshire County region and offers bird-themed events for Antioch students to connect with their local birds. Follow us on Facebook or keep an eye on Antioch University New England’s events calendar for upcoming activities.
Kim Snyder was born, raised, and educated in New York State before falling in love with New England. She picked up birding in college and quickly developed an unhealthy obsession thanks to some fantastic mentors. Kim is a recent graduate of Antioch University New England with a Masters's in conservation biology and a love of community science initiatives, creative writing, and environmental education. She has studied vernal pool ecosystems, flower phenology, and bird behavior as well as led educational programs for families, adults, and elementary school children.