NH Audubon Birding Team to Compete in Rye, Saturday

Posted on January 19, 2018

NH Audubon’s “Twitchers in the Rye” will be taking part in the Superbowl of Birding on January 27, 2018 and spending the entire day in Rye, NH. The Superbowl is a competition that takes place on the last Saturday in January – but this Superbowl has nothing to do with football. It involves looking for as many bird species as possible in 12 hours and is run by Massachusetts Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center. Teams can compete in Essex County, MA and/or Rockingham County, NH.

This is the Twitchers 10th year birding solely in Rye and for the first time there’s actually a town category in the competition. “We wanted to show people how many birds can be seen in just one town,” said Twitchers team captain Becky Suomala, “but now that there’s a category for a single town its especially exciting. Rye has great birding habitat and gives us a great name,” (Twitchers is a British word for avid birders) “but we’ve never had anyone compete in any other town.”

Black-capped Chickadee, by Rebecca Suomala

Team members will be scouting the area for unusual birds before the competition. Rare species are worth more points than common ones, and teams are required to call in and report the five point birds so that sightings can be shared with other teams. The first team to find a “five-pointer” gets bonus points. Last year’s highlights included two species that were new for the Twitchers: Common Merganser and Barred Owl. This year will be especially challenging after all the cold weather so far this winter.

Twitchers is also raising money to support NH Audubon and accepting pledges to support New Hampshire Bird Records and NH eBird. Help spur the Twitchers on by pledging an amount per species or per point – and support the collection of bird data for conservation at the same time. “When the mercury drops and the winds blow, pledges help keep us going – knowing each species or point will help build contributions for conservation!” said team captain Becky Suomala.

If you’d like to pledge, please contact Becky Suomala at rsuomala@nhaudubon.org, 603-224-9909 x309 or pledge online where you can also read last year’s results.

And if you see a car full of four bundled figures stop suddenly, and peer out the window with binoculars, don’t be alarmed. They are likely the Twitchers or another team of birders competing in this annual birding competition.