Some teams compete in limited geographic divisions and some teams (including the Lagerhead Shrikes) compete in the state wide division. Most of the state wide teams begin at the Great Swamp NWR west of New York City. In fact many of the teams begin on the same stretch of road at the Great Swamp.
Teams begin arriving about 11:30 pm. There is a real sense of camaraderie as participants renew friendships and wish each other luck. About 11:55 the teams start to form individual groups. A person with a decent watch is designated as the "starter". At midnight an announcement is made and the event is on. Everyone is silent as they listen for their first bird of the event. Friends become fierce competitors for 24 hours!
This picture was taken at the Great Swamp a few minutes before the start of the 2008 event.