Sunday, April 4, 2010


                There are some things a World Series of Birding team can control. Items like the route used, team birding skills, team membership, etc. are items that can be planned in advance and controlled. But there are things that a World Series of Birding team cannot control. Things like the weather, migration and the length of the contest.

                The contest runs from midnight Friday night to midnight Saturday night, twenty four hours. Breaking it down further, each team has 1440 minutes to find and identify as many species as possible. At first glance 1440 seems like a huge number but it is not. If a team "gets" 220 species for the day, it means it has to average a new species every 6.5 minutes. Factor in that a statewide team will spend about 11 hours driving between locations. A few species will be identified while driving, but most will not be. If you subtract the 11 hours of driving from the 24 hours, at best there is only 13 hours for birding - 780 minutes! To "get" 220 species in 780 minutes, a new species has to be identified every 3.5 minutes. Keep in mind that 220 species has not been a winning total since 2004! Last year 220 species would have resulted in a 4th place finish.

                The 1440 minutes is something that cannot be changed. Once a minute passes, it cannot be recovered. In the weeks before the contest teams constantly refine their routes to maximize the minutes spent birding and minimize the non-birding minutes. (Bert)

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