Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center is closed through June 30 as part of Penn State’s efforts to maintain public health and safety in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. Many public programs and school visits are also canceled, rescheduled, or reconfigured for virtual delivery. For questions, please contact us at ShaversCreek@psu.edu. For the latest updates and information, visit: virusinfo.psu.edu.

Birding Cup 2020: More than a “Virtual” Success!

A red-bellied woodpecker
A Red-bellied Woodpecker. Photo by Claudia Rosen.

Joyful? Grateful? Astonished? We’re having trouble finding the perfect adjective for our reaction to the overwhelming response to the 2020 Virtual Birding Cup! We didn’t know what to expect when we decided to put aside the competition and to embrace the camaraderie of the birding community in the face of a global pandemic, but we are glad we did it.

More than 275 birders participated to log 42,561 individual birds into eBird in just twenty-four hours! And from those forty-thousand birds, we collectively saw 419 unique species — more than doubling our previous record of 194 species. In just the first five hours of the event, we nearly matched last year’s record by identifying 173 species. These incredible numbers represent the power of our connections not only to each other, but also to the natural world. And they are a huge display of the power of citizen science. We sincerely thank every participant who made this possible!

I just wanted to say that after a month of social and physical isolation, the Birding Cup made me feel a part of something bigger, got me reconnected with humanity, and was the tonic my soul didn’t know it needed.

—Reed Moyer

Where did all these birders come from? We had participation from over twenty states (hello to our friends in Alaska!) and the District of Columbia, and the countries of Canada, Italy, Kenya, and Australia (that’s four separate continents for all you keeping score). We had experienced birders — some participating in their twenty-third Birding Cup — as well as brand-new birders and, of course, all the birders in between. We bet the event converted quite a few individuals into birders, which is a cause for celebration on its own.

Our participating states included Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Vermont.

A Great egret in Central Park
A Great Egret in Central Park. Photo by Justin Raymond (Read more about Justin’s Birding Cup experience here.)

As a long-time Birding Cup participant who moved to New York City just before life drastically changed, it was really exciting to be able to participate with the Shaver’s Creek community from afar. While I miss the camaraderie of traveling with a group of friends in person, it was actually great to hear stories of people birding all over the world. I hope that aspect of this year’s Birding Cup continues into the future!

—Justin Raymond

Despite a de-emphasis on fundraising this year, the public still poured in $4,325 at the time of this post — incredible! This money will support our long-term goal to develop an endowment to support important Citizen Science projects into the future. If you feel able to support our efforts, please visit our Community Funded page.

We’re still collecting great images and stories from participants. Keep a look out here and elsewhere for more about the 2020 Virtual Birding Cup!

Species list

Check out all 419 species below. Are some birds listed that you’ve never seen before? Thank our friends from across the globe!

  • Snow Goose
  • Brant
  • Canada Goose
  • Mute Swan
  • Black Swan
  • Trumpeter Swan
  • Wood Duck
  • Blue-winged Teal
  • Cinnamon Teal
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Gadwall
  • American Wigeon
  • Pacific Black Duck
  • Mallard
  • Mexican Duck
  • American Black Duck
  • Northern Pintail
  • Green-winged Teal
  • Redhead
  • Ring-necked Duck
  • Lesser Scaup
  • Common Eider
  • Harlequin Duck
  • Surf Scoter
  • Black Scoter
  • Long-tailed Duck
  • Bufflehead
  • Barrow’s Goldeneye
  • Hooded Merganser
  • Common Merganser
  • Red-breasted Merganser
  • Ruddy Duck
  • Northern Bobwhite
  • Scaled Quail
  • Gambel’s Quail
  • Ring-necked Pheasant
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Sooty Grouse
  • Wild Turkey
  • Pied-billed Grebe
  • Horned Grebe
  • Red-necked Grebe
  • Eared Grebe
  • Western Grebe
  • Rock Pigeon
  • Common Wood-Pigeon
  • Band-tailed Pigeon
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove
  • Ring-necked Dove
  • Crested Pigeon
  • Inca Dove
  • White-winged Dove
  • Mourning Dove
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  • Black-billed Cuckoo
  • Lesser Nighthawk
  • Common Nighthawk
  • Common Poorwill
  • Chuck-will’s-widow
  • Eastern Whip-poor-will
  • Mexican Whip-poor-will
  • Chimney Swift
  • Common Swift
  • White-throated Swift
  • Blue-throated Mountain-gem
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Black-chinned Hummingbird
  • Broad-tailed Hummingbird
  • Rufous Hummingbird
  • Broad-billed Hummingbird
  • Clapper Rail
  • Virginia Rail
  • Sora
  • Common Gallinule
  • Dusky Moorhen
  • American Coot
  • Australasian Swamphen
  • Gray Crowned-Crane
  • Sandhill Crane
  • Black-necked Stilt
  • American Avocet
  • American Oystercatcher
  • Black-bellied Plover
  • Semipalmated Plover
  • Piping Plover
  • Killdeer
  • Whimbrel
  • Red Knot
  • Stilt Sandpiper
  • Sanderling
  • Dunlin
  • Least Sandpiper
  • Pectoral Sandpiper
  • Semipalmated Sandpiper
  • Short-billed Dowitcher
  • Long-billed Dowitcher
  • American Woodcock
  • Wilson’s Snipe
  • Wilson’s Phalarope
  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • Solitary Sandpiper
  • Greater Yellowlegs
  • Willet
  • Lesser Yellowlegs
  • Marbled Murrelet
  • Bonaparte’s Gull
  • Laughing Gull
  • Mew Gull
  • Ring-billed Gull
  • California Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Yellow-legged Gull
  • Glaucous-winged Gull
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Least Tern
  • Gull-billed Tern
  • Caspian Tern
  • Black Tern
  • Common Tern
  • Forster’s Tern
  • Black Skimmer
  • Red-throated Loon
  • Common Loon
  • Great Cormorant
  • Neotropic Cormorant
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • American White Pelican
  • American Bittern
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Great Egret
  • Snowy Egret
  • Little Blue Heron
  • Tricolored Heron
  • Cattle Egret
  • Green Heron
  • Black-crowned Night-Heron
  • Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
  • Glossy Ibis
  • White-faced Ibis
  • Hadada Ibis
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Osprey
  • Golden Eagle
  • Mississippi Kite
  • Northern Harrier
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • Northern Goshawk
  • Black Kite
  • Bald Eagle
  • Gray Hawk
  • Red-shouldered Hawk
  • Broad-winged Hawk
  • Swainson’s Hawk
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Barn Owl
  • Whiskered Screech-Owl
  • Western Screech-Owl
  • Eastern Screech-Owl
  • Great Horned Owl
  • Elf Owl
  • Burrowing Owl
  • Barred Owl
  • Northern Saw-whet Owl
  • Speckled Mousebird
  • Elegant Trogon
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater
  • Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • Red-naped Sapsucker
  • Red-breasted Sapsucker
  • Lewis’s Woodpecker
  • Red-headed Woodpecker
  • Acorn Woodpecker
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Northern Flicker
  • American Kestrel
  • Merlin
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Galah
  • Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
  • Rose-ringed Parakeet
  • Crimson Rosella
  • Eastern Rosella
  • Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet
  • Greater Pewee
  • Western Wood-Pewee
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
  • Acadian Flycatcher
  • Willow Flycatcher
  • Least Flycatcher
  • Cordilleran Flycatcher
  • Buff-breasted Flycatcher
  • Black Phoebe
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Say’s Phoebe
  • Dusky-capped Flycatcher
  • Ash-throated Flycatcher
  • Great Crested Flycatcher
  • Brown-crested Flycatcher
  • Couch’s Kingbird
  • Cassin’s Kingbird
  • Western Kingbird
  • Eastern Kingbird
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
  • Superb Fairywren
  • White-eyed Vireo
  • Hutton’s Vireo
  • Yellow-throated Vireo
  • Blue-headed Vireo
  • Plumbeous Vireo
  • Warbling Vireo
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • African Black-headed Oriole
  • Australian Magpie
  • African Paradise-Flycatcher
  • Loggerhead Shrike
  • Long-tailed Fiscal
  • Steller’s Jay
  • Blue Jay
  • Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay
  • Mexican Jay
  • Black-billed Magpie
  • Eurasian Jackdaw
  • American Crow
  • Northwestern Crow
  • Fish Crow
  • Chihuahuan Raven
  • Hooded Crow
  • Pied Crow
  • Common Raven
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Mexican Chickadee
  • Chestnut-backed Chickadee
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Black-crested Titmouse
  • Verdin
  • Horned Lark
  • Little Grassbird
  • Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  • Purple Martin
  • Tree Swallow
  • Violet-green Swallow
  • Bank Swallow
  • Barn Swallow
  • Lesser Striped Swallow
  • Cliff Swallow
  • Cave Swallow
  • Common House-Martin
  • Common Bulbul
  • Bushtit
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Pygmy Nuthatch
  • Brown-headed Nuthatch
  • Brown Creeper
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • Rock Wren
  • Canyon Wren
  • House Wren
  • Pacific Wren
  • Winter Wren
  • Sedge Wren
  • Marsh Wren
  • Carolina Wren
  • Bewick’s Wren
  • Cactus Wren
  • American Dipper
  • European Starling
  • Gray Catbird
  • Curve-billed Thrasher
  • Brown Thrasher
  • Bendire’s Thrasher
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • Western Bluebird
  • Mountain Bluebird
  • Varied Thrush
  • Veery
  • Swainson’s Thrush
  • Hermit Thrush
  • Wood Thrush
  • Olive Thrush
  • American Robin
  • White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Phainopepla
  • Amethyst Sunbird
  • Scarlet-chested Sunbird
  • Bronze Sunbird
  • Variable Sunbird
  • White-browed Sparrow-Weaver
  • Baglafecht Weaver
  • Speke’s Weaver
  • Village Weaver
  • Common Waxbill
  • Red-billed Firefinch
  • Bronze Mannikin
  • Pin-tailed Whydah
  • House Sparrow
  • Italian Sparrow
  • Kenya Rufous Sparrow
  • African Pied Wagtail
  • White Wagtail
  • American Pipit
  • Evening Grosbeak
  • House Finch
  • Purple Finch
  • Cassin’s Finch
  • African Citril
  • Reichenow’s Seedeater
  • Streaky Seedeater
  • Red Crossbill
  • Pine Siskin
  • Lesser Goldfinch
  • American Goldfinch
  • Botteri’s Sparrow
  • Grasshopper Sparrow
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • Clay-colored Sparrow
  • Field Sparrow
  • Black-throated Sparrow
  • Lark Sparrow
  • Lark Bunting
  • Fox Sparrow
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Yellow-eyed Junco
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Vesper Sparrow
  • LeConte’s Sparrow
  • Seaside Sparrow
  • Savannah Sparrow
  • Henslow’s Sparrow
  • Song Sparrow
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow
  • Swamp Sparrow
  • Canyon Towhee
  • Rufous-crowned Sparrow
  • Spotted Towhee
  • Eastern Towhee
  • Yellow-breasted Chat
  • Yellow-headed Blackbird
  • Bobolink
  • Western Meadowlark
  • Eastern Meadowlark
  • Orchard Oriole
  • Bullock’s Oriole
  • Baltimore Oriole
  • Scott’s Oriole
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Brown-headed Cowbird
  • Rusty Blackbird
  • Brewer’s Blackbird
  • Common Grackle
  • Boat-tailed Grackle
  • Great-tailed Grackle
  • Ovenbird
  • Worm-eating Warbler
  • Louisiana Waterthrush
  • Northern Waterthrush
  • Golden-winged Warbler
  • Blue-winged Warbler
  • Black-and-white Warbler
  • Prothonotary Warbler
  • Swainson’s Warbler
  • Tennessee Warbler
  • Orange-crowned Warbler
  • Lucy’s Warbler
  • Nashville Warbler
  • Kentucky Warbler
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Hooded Warbler
  • American Redstart
  • 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
  • Grace’s Warbler
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler
  • Townsend’s Warbler
  • Hermit Warbler
  • Black-throated Green Warbler
  • Canada Warbler
  • Wilson’s Warbler
  • Painted Redstart
  • Hepatic Tanager
  • Summer Tanager
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • Western Tanager
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Pyrrhuloxia
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • Black-headed Grosbeak
  • Blue Grosbeak
  • Lazuli Bunting
  • Indigo Bunting
  • Painted Bunting
  • Dickcissel