About the World Series of Birding

What is the World Series of Birding?

It’s a game, it’s a marathon, it’s a challenge, it’s a heck of a lot of fun!

Many great birders have raised glasses in this event. The first official World Series of Birding began at midnight on May 19, 1984, when just thirteen teams set out on a 24-hour treasure hunt. Their mission was to tally as many species of birds by sight or sound as possible. Their objective was to raise money for their favorite environmental cause, and to focus worldwide attention upon the habitat needs of migrating birds.

They succeeded beyond anyone’s dreams. Today there are thousands of participants, including donors and support team members, in the event and the event has grown into several categories and ways to play.

Bird Conservation Challenge- Level I - for competing teams who vie for awards in several categories
NJ Audubon Ambassador Challenge - Level II - for non-competing teams
Zeiss Youth Challenge - Level III - for ages 6-18 within their respective youth groups
Senior Challenge - Level IV - for ages 60 and over

When is it?

This year on Saturday, May 6th - rain or shine. Mark your calendars and start planning your strategy. Look under the Rules/Forms tab at Bird Conservation Challenge Ways to Play for detailed information.

Gather your teammates near and far and share in the excitement and camaraderie that is part of North America’s most celebrated conservation event - the World Series of Birding!

Why a World Series of Birding?

Over the past thirty-plus years, this event has changed the birding landscape, has brought birding to the attention of the media, and has raised close to $9 million for bird conservation.

  • It draws attention to the habitat needs of migrating birds, especially throughout the great State of New Jersey, which is at the crossroads of migration for many species at this specific time of year.
  • It gives birders a chance to put their birding skills to use for a good cause.
  • It brings together birders of all levels of experience, local conservation groups, schools and youth groups, and businesses that care about the environment.
  • It generates of lot of money for conservation causes.
  • It focuses global media attention upon the challenge, adventure, and fun of birding.

Where is it?

Right here within the confines of New Jersey. One of the best birding states in North America - and doable in a single day!

Who organizes it?

New Jersey Audubon's World Series of Birding is organized and hosted by New Jersey Audubon, an independent, membership supported organization. The event is endorsed by the American Birding Association, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, and sponsored by numerous environmental, conservation-minded businesses and individuals.

What does NJ Audubon gain?

More energy, more event profile and more interest from potential sponsors - and teams. AND publicity. AND more money gets raised for conservation. New Jersey Audubon fields many teams, from center-based Century Runs, to mission-based teams supporting our conservation efforts, and our wonderful Birding Ambassador Teams, who raise money for New Jersey Audubon and approach their World Series of Birding with their own team.

For those raising money for New Jersey Audubon, it's easy! Register, create your web page, and your supporters can pledge and/or pay online right through the website.

What do other organizations gain?

Here's the thing. If you want to raise money for your environmental cause or organization, all you have to do is register your team in the World Series of Birding, pay the registration fees, and after that, you collect ALL your donations. Use our online registration, create a web page and share it with your supporters. Just make sure you have organized your own pledge/payment system, and explain it clearly on your web page. We supply the platform and the publicity that makes this an extraordinary event. Many teams from environmentally-minded organizations use New Jersey Audubon's World Series of Birding as a major fund raiser.

How does it work?

The World Series of Birding is a competitive “Big Day”. Teams have up to 24 hours to count as many bird species as they can identify by sight or sound within the state of New Jersey. Each species seen or heard counts as one.

We lay the ground work, give you the playing field and the rules to follow. The rest is up to you. Please read all the information in the Rules/Forms tab of this website.

This year, we will be bringing back the highly-successful WSB phone App, which can be used on both iPhones and Android phones. Teams will be able to submit their sightings throughout the day, and then submit their final list from their phones. Via the app, various species will be "flagged" for time and location, and the rules for rarities (aka "Write-ins") will still apply and be submittable via the App. More information soon. Only REGISTERED TEAMS will be able to test the App ahead of the World Series of Birding.

How many birds could be seen?

Totals can vary according to weather conditions, cold fronts, the experience and skill of the teams, the complexity of the route, the amount of scouting, and luck (good and bad). Competing team totals have ranged from 48 to 229 with an average of 165 species. The total cumulative number of species tallied by all teams in a given year ranges from a low of 245 to a high of 270. The cumulative total since 1984 is 330 species.

Don’t New Jersey birders have an edge?

Home field advantage is important in many sports. It has a familiarity; you know the lay of the land so to speak. But when the Big Day comes around, every one is on equal ground because birds move. We’ve had teams from all over the world compete and many of the top teams are from outside of New Jersey. In fact, out-of-state teams sometimes fare better than the New Jersey based teams. Good scouting and good strategy can make all the difference. And you can count on help from veteran teams.

What Can You Win?

No matter what the final tally, everyone wins, nobody loses, and you’ve helped the environment. The best prize is the satisfaction of knowing that you have done something positive for the environment by supporting conservation.

Bird Conservation Challenge - Level I
(Only Level I teams are eligible for these awards. The majority of team members must be over the age of 18 years old to compete for any of these awards.)

Urner-Stone Cup - 1st Place
presented to the team with the highest overall number of species

Stone Award - 2nd Place
presented to the team with the 2nd highest overall number of species

Stearns Award - 3rd Place
presented to the team with the 3rd highest overall number of species

Big Stay Award
presented to the team with the highest total species seen from a single location

LGA Award
presented to the team with the highest total species "par" for a single county

Cape May County Award
presented to the team with the highest total species within Cape May County

Cape Island Cup
presented to the team with the highest total species south of the Cape May Canal

Swarovski Carbon Footprint Challenge
presented to the team with the highest total species with zero carbon footprint (on foot, bike, row,etc. but no motorized vehicles)

NJ Audubon Ambassador Challenge - Level II

Level II teams are not eligible for Level I awards. This year, New Jersey Audubon will recognize the teams that raise the most conservation funding for New Jersey Audubon, including those sponsored by staff, New Jersey Audubon Century Runs, other center-based efforts, such as Big Stays, corporate sponsored teams, and mission-based teams, such as Citizen's Science. We are especially grateful for those individuals who approach the WSB on their own in order to raise money for New Jersey Audubon. Recognition for NJ Audubon Ambassadors will be announced when we kick off the 2018 35th Annual World Series of Birding.

Zeiss Youth Challenge - Level III

Zeiss Youth Division A Challenge
presented to the team with the highest total species within Elementary School Grades 1 through 5

Zeiss Youth Division B Challenge
presented to the team with the highest total species within Middle School Grades 6 through 8

Zeiss Youth Division C - Pete Dunne Future Leaders in Birding Award
presented to the team with the highest total species within High School Grades 9 through 12

Zeiss Youth Division D - Carbon Free Kids Award
presented to the team in Grades 6 through 12 with the highest total species with zero carbon footprint (on foot, bike, row, etc. but no motorized vehicles)

Senior Challenge - Level IV

Floyd P. Wolfarth Senior Award
presented to the Senior team (ages 60 and over) with the highest total species

What are you waiting for?

Consider joining the many individuals from all over the globe who have teams in this event. Learn logistical support from colleagues who have figured out how to do this after many years in the game. You can count on the help and expertise of veteran participants because sharing is the hallmark of the World Series of Birding.






WSB Hall of Fame

Media List

How it Started