World Series of Birding

Cape May, NJ
May 12, 2012
Each year YMOS sends at least one team into competition at the World Series of Birding in Cape May, NJ. This competition is one of the premier ornithological events in the world and attracts some of the best birders around. Our team participates in the youth competition. The event is actually primarily a major fund raiser for bird conservation and research; so, although competitive, learning and sharing are paramount.
The team spends 3 days scouting birds in the area prior to the Big Day. On Saturday each team has 24 hours to identify, by sight and/or sound, as many species as possible. The top adult teams that search the whole State of New Jersey regularly find 220 or more species on their Big Day. Our youth team stays more local to Cape May County and has exceeded 150 species numerous times. In 2010 we decided to limit ourselves to Cape May proper (Cape Island) and recorded 133 species, just 20 species less than the top adult team covering that area. In 2011our team placed 3rd overall and first among youth teams not covering the entire state. One of our YMOS members joined a group from New York and placed first with a total of 193 species found.
All are welcome to apply to be on the team. In the past we have fielded both middle and high school level teams, and even elementary teams participate. A team must consist of at least 3 members and have an adult driver. Dr. Wayne Bell, Past President of the Maryland Ornithological Society, and George Radcliffe, MOS Youth Coordinator and 38-year middle school teacher, both coach  and accompany the team(s). Prior experience is NOT necessary, just a desire to learn. If interested email George Radcliffe at
Team members usually participate in a couple of the YMOS field trips and accompany the group on the 3 Cape May scouting days in May. The group uses a March Birdathon each year to raise money for the 5-day May trip, and costs to each team member are minimal. Parents are always welcome to accompany us.
    Schedule of Activities for our team

Weds, May 9, 5 AM – Depart Maryland for New Jersey – We’ll coordinate meeting places when we see where the team members are coming from. We’ll scout northern locations (Atlantic City and south) this day.

Thurs, May 10 – all day – We’ll scout Cape May County this day and begin to plan our Big Day stategy. That evening we’ll attend the Swap Meet with the other teams to share bird sightings. This is as much a cooperative venture as a competitive event.

Fri, May 11 – Scouting Cape Island and ocean areas; plan itinerary, and early to bed.

Sat, May 12 – The Big Day – up to 24 hours to identify by sight or sound as many species as possible. We’ll begin about 1 AM with a search for owls and rails and should conclude by about 9 or 10 PM. There will be a huge meal at the check-in location where we’ll watch the results and meet/share with other teams.

Sun, May 13 – 9 AM – Awards Ceremony and Brunch. We’ll leave Cape May after the brunch and be back in Maryland by 3 – 4 PM.

For more information, check out the official New Jersey Audubon World Series of Birding website.