That’s right, for the first time ever 10,000 Birds will field a team in a birding competition! The annual Montezuma Muckrace, scheduled for the end of next week, will be our inaugural event. We can’t wait! Our squad, composed of four guys hoping not to make fools of ourselves of the finest birders in New York State , will be called the Butcher Birders. We hope to butcher the competition and not, er, butcher the competition, if you know what I mean. Anyway, the team is Mike, me, Will, and Jory. I’m not sure why Will and Jory are willing to waste an entire 24-hour period traipsing around with me and Mike looking for as many birds as possible but for whatever reason they have we are glad they are joining us.
The Montezuma Muckrace is an annual event that starts at 8 PM and ends on 8 PM the following day. This year the event starts on Friday, September 12, and ends Saturday the 13th. Teams spend the entire time searching the 34,000 acres of the Montezuma wetlands complex for as many species as possible (and at Montezuma many species are possible). Last year’s winning team, Wings over Ithaca, counted an astonishing-for-upstate-New York-in-September 140 species, and all the teams combined managed a total of 177 species! Compared to numbers like those the Century Run Will and I did back in May around the Albany-area doesn’t seem so impressive (though at the time 129 species seemed like quite a bit).
Mike already did a bit of a scout of Montezuma but we are still rather woefully underprepared. We would like to see at least one hundred species but are still rather unsure of our route, and we have no idea about the best spots to hear owls, find rails and bitterns, see field bids, find migrant warblers, etc, etc, etc. If you have any tips please leave them in the comments.
Even though we don’t hold out much hope of winning the competition unless we actually start butchering other teams we do have hopes for another aspect of the Montezuma Muckrace, raising money to support the marvelous Montezuma wetlands complex. You see, like many birding races, the Montezuma Muckrace is not just about counting as many birds as possible but it is also about supporting conservation, and helping to conserve a jewel like Montezuma is a task we take on with pleasure. The overall fundraising goal for all teams is to raise $11,000 for a conservation project within the wetland and we would like to get at least a small portion of that ourselves.
So if you want to help support Montezuma drop us an email. You can either pledge a flat amount or a specific amount per bird. Now I know that many of those reading this have already donated to help the Sharpe’s Longclaw and if that has cleaned out your budget for birding donations for the year, well, I understand. I like asking for money as little as most like giving it away. But if you do donate you will be in on the ground floor of what will eventually be the greatest birding team ever! Just think, someday you’ll be able to tell your grandchildren “I supported the Butcher Birders in their first competition, back before birding was a televised sport, and before those bastards got famous and forgot all about the little people.”
So, to recap, 10,000 Birds is starting a birding team, we hope not to fall flat on our faces, and PLEASE HELP US, by sending information our way or pledging money to support the conservation goal of the muckrace.
Hopefully we’ll track down an American Redstart like this one and at least 99 other species!
Woot! I’m going to be on TV and famous in the future! Birding as a televised sport… Wonder if the announcers would be like in Golf?
Looking forward to it and keep in mind I’m good luck. After all I was on the 2 time defending champion Burroughing Owls in the NYC Audubon Birding Challenge!
Good luck! I’d tried to be out there this year at the right time for the MM, but won’t actually be in NY now until end of Sept, so I’ll have reduced chances to make a fool of myself in the field.
Birding as a televised sport would be awesome – imagine it; in-scope/bins cameras, gps tracking maps of each team, commentators using those pens that write on the screen (telescribes?) to point out key id features. This is going to be huge….and I shall be its Don King/mike Ditka. Hell if bassfishing can get on tv…….
@Will: Let’s hope that your good luck holds and that your bad luck (which, need I remind you, can be really bad?) doesn’t come back! 🙂
@Rick: Thanks! And I doubt you’d make a fool of yourself…something I wish I could say about our team!
@tai haku: Now if only a television network was paying attention
@ Corey: I tend to think of it another way, I was there but the Bird missed me!
Good Luck Corey, but not too much. Glad you are supporting Montezuma, but I want to keep my luck for my Team, The Mottled Mucks!! This will be our third year and we really have fun and enjoy the event. However we are not one of the top teams…..but we really enjoy the event. I was asked to join a team 3 years ago by my son-in-law, since he knew I enjoyed doing new and different things. I went mainly as a photographer, but am now a confirmed birder. I look forward to meeting you and your team. We are down to 3 people this year with our two best birders getting married and will be on their honeymoon during the Muckrace.
@Dick: I look forward to meeting you and The Mottled Mucks…and ditto on the luck! Hopefully the weather and the birds will cooperate!
I’m on Dick’s team. But I renamed us the Three Muckateers this year (previously Mottled Mucks) since we lost two of our teamates, now we are down to three. We probably won’t be much competition for the Butchers, but we have a good time and raise some money. You’ll have a blast. I’d tell you where all the owls are, but we mostly drink beers and sleep the night through, so we aren’t a very reliable source! Ha.
I definitely want to hang out with the Three Muckateers.
Excellent! Good luck guys. I hope you try the World Series next year too.
We camp behind the Audubon Center. We’re the ones in the big blue tent. Stop by and have a beer if you like. We love the competition, but we are birders first. So feel free to tell us where you found any rarities. Just teasin’.
Good luck guys! I´d love to help you with your route and all your favorite spots… but I have to say I´m rooting for the CU student team to win again. Hopefully no hard feelings =) I wish I could be there this year…
@John: We’ll try to get by…but it depends on how long it takes us to find some owls!
@Nick: Well thanks, thanks for nothing. 🙂
Oh, you can skip the owls…that’s only what…three birds? You can make that up in warblers in the morning….hahaha…just kidding. Good luck you guys, its so much fun, you’ll have a great time!