Another Successful Birding Cup!

Major congrats (and thanks) are in order for our Birding Cup teams this year! Although they braved occasional rainy hours, they came through with huge identification lists, totaling 194 species. That’s crazy awesome, and continues to show that citizen science initiatives are a powerful way of gathering data. Not only data, but funds raised for Shaver’s Creek, too — about $13,000 was raised before the Birding Cup checklists even came in, and we’re well on our way to the $15,000 mark now! Thank you to everyone who donated and help raise money. If you’d like to donate, it’s not too late:

It is wonderful to have so many birders—both young and young at heart—sharing their love for the natural world and the feathered creatures that inhabit it. Whether teams were celebrating their 22nd year of participation, or were picking up binoculars for the first time, everyone generously gave an entire day to raise money for Shaver’s Creek!

Without further ado… we know you want to know who took home “the gold.”

The Victors

THE BIRDING CUP: Psycho Killdeer – 145 species

The Psycho Killdeers (Kiskadee?) were able to repeat their victory from last year, seeing more species than any other team—145! They also managed to do this while staying within Centre County, an added challenge.

THE COUNTY CUP: Raiders of the Lost Lark – 135 species

The Raiders put up a great challenge even to the full Birding Cup, but did exceptionally well in a single county. This team also raised a huge amount of money, and for that we give them a special extra thank you!

THE BIRDING BOOT: Whip-poor-wheels – 107 species

Formerly known as the Red-rumped Irruptives, this slightly new team — featuring 11-year old Ellory Potter! — rode to victory on two wheels and lots of ambition!

THE MICRO CUP: Two Cuckoos – 129 species

Two Cuckoos defended their title, making them the only team to win The Micro Cup so far!

THE POTTER MUG: Supernatural SEEDlings – 57 species

Team member Bridget Petkac: “For my first time birding, I think going right into the Birding Boot was the best thing to do, because it challenges you in a new way. But also just doing Birding Cup in general was amazing, because you learn about the people you’re doing it with, but also about birds in the area — like who knew Baltimore Orioles were in Centre county? Not me!”

This team is a subset of recent SEED Semester students at Shaver’s Creek, and they really showed a passion for their newfound hobby! Although they didn’t win the Birding Boot, they did win the Potter Mug, designated for teams with less than 2 years of experience. Congratulations!

Funds This Year

While our raptors, staff, and visitors are enjoying last year’s Birding Cup project—the updated Raptor Center—we are turning our attention to increasing citizen science and visitor engagement in our Visitor Center. We are using this year’s funds for new interpretive exhibits and engaging technology like software that identifies nighttime migrants flying overhead and an interactive camera for visitors to learn about infrared radiation and literally see themselves in a new light.

Thus far we have raised almost $15,000—thanks to everyone who has donated! While the birding is over (for now), if you haven’t yet made your pledge, or if you were waiting to donate “per bird”, you can do that today.

Finally, the event would also not have been a success without our sponsors: Wiscoy for Animals, Appalachian Outdoors, Lost Creek Optics, Purple Lizard Maps, Bobby Rahal Honda, and Collegiate Pride.

Thank you!

Full Team List

Not every team can take home a trophy, but all 25 teams bring something special to the Cup, with their keen senses, fun personalities, and sense of community. Also, so many of them stuck to just one county this year — not to mention the Birding Boot teams who used only non-motorized transportation, or the Micro Cup teams who stuck to a limited, walkable area — the planet appreciates the minimal use of fuel! Thanks to all of them:

Double Downy – 54 [Micro Cup]

The Mating Pair and the Night Owl – 68 [Micro Cup]

Two Cuckoos – 129 [Micro Cup]

Supernatural SEEDlings – 57 [Potter Mug, Birding Boot, County Cup]

Fowl Play – 37 [Birding Boot]

The Wanderlings – 104 [Birding Boot]

Whip-poor-wheels – 107 [Birding Boot]

Bad Optics – 122 [County Cup]

Cardinal B’s – 98 [County Cup]

Caw & Order: Special Finches Unit – 99 [County Cup]

Easily Emused – 104 [County Cup]

Huntingdon Hawkeyes – 110 [County Cup]

Juniata Juncos – 123 [County Cup]

Not So Swifts – 78 [County Cup]

Psycho Killdeer – 145 [County Cup]

Raiders of the Lost Lark – 135 [County Cup]

Stork Raven Mad – 118 [County Cup]

Tea Time Towhees – 97 [County Cup]

The Dukes of Harrier – 119 [County Cup]

Tick McGreer & the Kickers – 125 [County Cup]

Attempted Birder – 82

Iccorrigible Galinulic Ornithological Rapscallions (IGOR) – 89

Indigo Hunting – 110

No Egrets – 80

The Wing Nuts – 144

Species List

At least 194 birds were seen this year — an incredible number of species to record in central Pennsylvania. Here’s the full list!


Snow Goose

Canada Goose

Mute Swan

Tundra Swan

Wood Duck


American Wigeon

American Black Duck


Blue-winged Teal

Northern Shoveler

Ring-necked Duck

Greater Scaup

Lesser Scaup

White-winged Scoter


Hooded Merganser

Common Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser

Ruddy Duck


Northern Bobwhite

Ruffed Grouse

Wild Turkey


Red-throated Loon

Common Loon

Pied-billed Grebe

Double-crested Cormorant


American Bittern

Great Blue Heron

Green Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron


Black Vulture

Turkey Vulture


Bald Eagle

Northern Harrier

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk

Northern Goshawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Golden Eagle

American Kestrel


Peregrine Falcon


Virginia Rail


Common Gallinule

American Coot


Spotted Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

Greater Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Least Sandpiper


Wilson’s Snipe

American Woodcock


Bonaparte’s Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Caspian Tern

Black Tern

Common Tern


Rock Pigeon

Mourning Dove

Black-billed Cuckoo

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Barn Owl

Eastern Screech Owl

Great Horned Owl

Barred Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Common Nighthawk


Chimney Swift

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Pileated Woodpecker


Eastern Wood-Pewee

Acadian Flycatcher

Alder Flycatcher

Least Flycatcher

Eastern Phoebe

Great-Crested Flycatcher

Eastern Kingbird

White-eyed Vireo

Yellow-throated Vireo

Blue-headed Vireo

Warbling Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

Blue Jay

American Crow

Fish Crow

Common Raven

Horned Lark

Rough-winged Swallow

Purple Martin

Tree Swallow

Bank Swallow

Barn Swallow

Cliff Swallow

Black-capped Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

Red-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

Brown Creeper

Carolina Wren

House Wren

Winter Wren

Marsh Wren

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Eastern Bluebird


Swainson’s Thrush

Hermit Thrush

Wood Thrush

American Robin

Gray Catbird

Northern Mockingbird

Brown Thrasher

European Starling

American Pipit

Cedar Waxwing


Worm-eating Warbler

Louisiana Waterthrush

Northern Waterthrush

Blue-winged Warbler

Golden-winged Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Tennessee Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

Hooded Warbler

American Redstart

Cape May Warbler

Cerulean Warbler

Northern Parula

Magnolia Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Palm Warbler

Pine Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-throated Warbler

Prairie Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Canada Warbler

Wilson’s Warbler

Yellow-breasted Chat

Eastern Towhee

Chipping Sparrow

Field Sparrow

Vesper Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow

Henslow’s Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Lincoln’s Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Scarlet Tanager

Northern Cardinal

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Indigo Bunting


Red-winged Blackbird

Eastern Meadowlark

Rusty Blackbird

Common Grackle

Brown-headed Cowbird

Orchard Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Purple Finch

House Finch

Pine Siskin

American Goldfinch

House Sparrow


Surf Scoter

Forster’s Tern

Snowy Egret

Bird photos by Ali Cook
Team photos by Jen Emigh