Cornell birders plan 24-hour race to break record
Goal is to find the most bird species and raise the most money for conservation
For release: April 17, 2012
Ithaca, NY--Team Sapsucker will attempt to identify the most bird species by sight or sound during 24 hours, hoping to break their own North American record of 264 species set just last year. These five top birders from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology will choose their “Big Day” in Texas during the week of April 23. The ultimate goal is to raise a quarter of a million dollars for bird conservation work through donations or pledges for every species they find. Learn more at www.birds.cornell.edu/BigDay
Team Sapsucker (L-R): Andrew Farnsworth, Chris Wood, Jessie Barry, Tim Lenz, and Marshall Iliff.
Team member Marshall Iliff, leader of the Lab’s eBird project says:
"The Big Day is a chance to highlight the huge diversity of birds in Texas and the dynamic changes in their populations. From the Rio Grande to the Louisiana border, we'll see Mexican and desert species that are expanding northward and eastward, declining birds of imperiled habitats like grasslands, marshes, and beaches, and well-known endangered species like Black-capped Vireo, Golden-cheeked Warbler, and Piping Plover."
"Big Day reminds us of the conservation triumphs, like the recovering populations of Golden-cheeked Warbler and Peregrine Falcon. Big Day supporters will help address ongoing conservation challenges such as the degradation of coastal marshes, overgrazing of prairie and brushland habitats, and the frightening perils of past and future oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico. This event also reminds us of what has been lost. The Eskimo Curlew and "Attwater's" Greater Prairie-Chicken would have been common on our route 150 years ago, but are no longer possible to find and may be lost forever."
Team Member Jessie Barry, leader of the Lab’s Merlin bird ID project, says:
“Without a doubt, Big Days have been some my favorite days of birding! It's a chance to harness my competitive spirit for a good cause. The most rewarding part is the knowledge that every species we find will help make a difference for bird conservation.”
“I love all the components of a Big Day, from the scouting to the finish. The scouting brings anxiety as we wonder if the birds will stick around until the actual day. Dawn is often an incredible, mind-boggling experience as we listen to the birds wake up. The final hours of daylight are often make-or-break time and after the sun goes down it’s time to beat back fatigue so we can rack up a few more rails or owls.”
Team Sapsucker is sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, LLC.
Pat Leonard, Cornell Lab, (607) 254-2137, firstname.lastname@example.org