Is spring really upon us once more? It must be. Snow Geese are heading north, the resident birds are beginning to set up territories, and migratory restlessness is ramping up among the birds, and
migration restlessness among the birders.
Our Cape May Bird Observatory team is also feeling the rising momentum as the Long-tailed Ducks and Black Scoter sing their plaintive courtship song, and the Northern Gannets begin to pass in increasing numbers, heading north to their rocky colonies. Our roster has changed this year, as Jessica Gorzo steps down to defend her PhD thesis at the University of Wisconsin this spring (Go Jess!). In her place is a new West Cape May resident who is not new to the World Series of Birding, Michael Lanzone. Mike is one of the best ear birders I know and will surely bring a great attitude and some awesome experience to our team; we’re very excited!
The rest of our roster remains the same, although Don Freiday is now the Program Director for CMBO! Don’s son Tim, a graduate student at the University of Delaware, joins us again this year, as does my long-time teammate Bill Lynch, from the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. Together we are extremely excited to be heading back out on our bikes for anther attempt at the Swarovski Carbon Footprint Challenge category, where all of our Big Day must be completed under human power and no use of fossil fuels.
Of course our 24-hour birding adventure is, for all intents and purposes, a game; but the fundraising we do around our team is very real, and has very real conservation impact in New Jersey and beyond. By pledging a dollar amount per species, or a lump sum for the day towards our team, you are casting your vote for wildlife and their habitat. Your donation will directly support the important work keeping our finger on the pulse of migration at Cape May through our seasonal migration counts like the Cape May Hawkwatch (40 years this year), the Avalon Seawatch, the Morning Flight Songbird Count and the Monarch Monitoring Project. Your support will directly assist in funding the future conservation leaders of tomorrow, including the George Myers Naturalist Intern position that now runs from April to December. Your support will also allow us to increase our reach and deepen the experiences we can offer to ensure we’re connecting people to nature in meaningful and impactful ways.
But we want to
earn your support on game day, so we’re proposing to beat our first-place-tying score last year of 124 species. Will it be 125? 126? 130? Who knows, but we’re gunning for our personal best as a team and your pledges will inspire us to listen harder, dig deeper, pedal faster (or slower!), and make you proud. So please consider pledging to support our team this year! If you can afford a dollar a bird, please pledge it; if five dollars is within your reach, I urge you to make it so. Let’s make this the greatest team fundraiser the WSB has ever seen!
I will keep you updated on our progress, as we get closer to the big day. Until then,
thank you for supporting our WSB team, and we hope to see you at the finish line in May!
Yours in Birding,
David La Puma
Team Captain, CMBO/CTT Conservation Pedalers
2016 CMBO/CTT Conservation Pedalers Team Roster:
David La Puma
Bill scans the bushes for movement, the atmosphere for sounds, and the road for obstacles. Birding by bike is the best!
In 2015 we initiated public sharing of information on game-day. This was unprecedented at the WSB, but something that our friends in Israel had been doing already during their Champions of the Flyway competition. It worked great, and resulted in more birds being seen by teams and more dollars being raised for conservation! We'll be doing it again and even more in 2016 - stay tuned!
Biking for 24 hours requires lots of coffee. This was one of several Wawa stops in 2015!
Bill shows off one of many cups of coffee during our 2015 WSB.
The first five hours are dark. Like, pitch black dark. This was a typical view when pedaling across Cape May in the wee hours of the morning. We manages to avoid any precipitation in 2015...here's hoping the weather cooperates with us in 2016!
Tim Freiday reels in a Rose-breasted Grosbeak during the 2015 World Series of Birding!
The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of NJ Audubon.