It’s almost time for the 2014 Birding Cup!
When the clock strikes 7:00 p.m. this Friday, May 2, over twenty teams of birders positioned across central Pennsylvania will focus their binoculars on the first bird they can find, and kick off 24 hours of identifying as many bird species as possible. One team might be seen scanning for waterfowl at Bald Eagle State Park, while another might be looking for whip-poor-wills and woodcocks as dusk falls in Scotia Barrens. As night falls, birders will check off the essential owls by ear, then grab a few hours of sleep before waking up to an early alarm. After a full day of packing in as many habitats and avian species as possible before 7:00 p.m. rolls around again, teams join up for an evening meeting at Shaver’s Creek to share good food, great stories, and big checklists.
In addition to being a lot of fun and an excellent citizen science initiative, the Birding Cup is Shaver’s Creek’s only annual fundraiser. Money raised in the previous two years has gone towards our front yard pond and an Aerie Reflections garden in the Raptor Center. This year’s funds will go toward constructing a lakeside dock for the impending return of Lake Perez this fall! You can make a flat donation now (at ShaversCreek.org/BirdingCupDonations) or pledge per species (contact Marie Taylor to make a per-species pledge in honor of a specific team, or total species from all teams… usually around 180). See below for a list of currently registered teams to pledge.
Many thanks to those of you who have already pledged or donated this year, totaling over $4,000 so far! A big thanks, also, to local businesses that sponsor our event with donations, team prizes, and food for weary birders: Dix Honda, Benjamin’s Catering, Wiscoy for Animals, Appalachian Outdoors, Lost Creek Optics, Purple Lizard Maps, Collegiate Pride, and Nikon.
We’d like to get as many people involved as possible this year, so we’re also promoting the use of a social media hashtag, #BirdingCup! In the overwhelming stream of information online, hashtags are an easy way to keep track of a single topic by linking it to a specific word or phrase. We encourage any team to use #BirdingCup to celebrate a highlight, provide status updates, or check in for a morale boost. Even if you aren’t outside birding, you’re also welcome to use the hashtag to join in and follow the conversation day’s events digitally!
Wondering how to join in? Three easy steps:
1. Log in to (or create) a Twitter account
2. Search for #BirdingCup and see the entire thread of conversation
3. Type “#BirdingCup” somewhere in your own tweets to add it to the conversation!
Feel free to reply to interesting tweets and share your own birding observations! Here’s an example of using the hashtag during last year’s Birding Cup:
Keep in mind, you can use the #BirdingCup hashtag in Facebook posts as well!
Birding Cup Teams
Are you pledging support for a particular team? Are you curious about who will be participating? In 2013, 24 teams (comprised of 110 birders) participated in the Birding Cup! Registrations are still rolling in for 2014, but here is a list of teams registered thus far—a great mix of veterans and first-time teams.
Many teams will be competing for the overall Birding Cup category for most species seen, while others will stick to a single county (competing for the County Cup), or go for the Birding Boot by getting around with exclusively human-powered transportation: bikes, boats, and travel by foot. Teams with an average of less than two years’ experience birding will vie for the Potter Mug. Who will you support?
Indigo Hunting (Potter Mug)
No Egrets (Potter Mug)
Timberdoodles (Birding Boot)
Cloaked Birds of Prey (Potter Mug)
(In)Terns (Potter Mug)
Chip Notes & the Off-Sure Birds (Potter Mug)
Raiders of the Lost Lark
Tick McGreer & The Kickers
The Loonatics (County Cup—Centre)
Sanibel Sandpeckers (County Cup—Centre)
Marsh Wrens (County Cup—Centre)
101 Ways to Use a Shoveler (County Cup—Huntingdon, Birding Boot)
Plovers After Dark (County Cup—Centre)
Willet Peep (County Cup—Centre)
Bad Optics (County Cup—Huntingdon)
Red-rumped Irruptives ( Birding Boot, County Cup—Centre)
Gearfalcons (Birding Boot)
Discovery Semester Team (Potter Mug)
IGOR / Vagrants
If your team has not yet registered, make sure you use our new Birding Cup Team Registration Form as soon as possible.
Central PA Native Plant Festival
If you aren’t out birding all day, you should come out to Shaver’s Creek for the 2014 Central PA Native Plant Festival! From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the Center will be bustling with activity.
Admission to the festival is free, but come prepared to purchase a native plant or two for your home from a local vendor! For a list of available plants this year, download this PDF! (Contact specific vendors for more information or to place a pre-order.) Delicious local food will also be available from EdenView Organics.
After chatting with some vendors and visiting resource tables, join in on a presentation. State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham will share her gardening enthusiasm at 11:00 a.m. with a presentation called “Barking up the Right Trees”; Katie Ombalski from ClearWater Conservancy will speak about “Making a Difference in Your Backyard” at 12:30 p.m., and at 2:00 p.m., Shaver’s Creek plant science program director Eric Burkhart will lead a tour of our native gardens.
Visit our Native Plant Festival page for many more details.
Whether you’ll spend this weekend chasing birds who have just migrated here, learning about natives and planting some in the spring soil, or simply supporting our birders and Shaver’s Creek through a donation, we hope this weekend will bring a great start to all of the wonderful things that come with early May!