World Series of Birding 2011: Monarchists

    The World Series of Birding will be held on Saturday, May 14.  The Monarchists team will return for our second year.  Again we will compete for the Carbon Footprint Cup and raise funds for the Cape May Monarch Monitoring Project.  The Monarchists team is comprised of Louise Zemaitis (our Captain), Lu Ann Daniels, Meghan Walker Hedeen, Michael O’Brien, and Mark Garland, with “support staff” of Paige Cunningham, Chris Kisiel, and Ron Rollet.

    The World Series of Birding is a friendly bird-finding competition that takes place each May in New Jersey.  The Carbon Footprint Cup is in just its third year, and the Cup is given to the team that finds the most birds without using a motor vehicle.  Our team will walk and ride bicycles around Cape May and hope for a day when migrants are abundant.

    We are hoping to find at least 100 species of birds by sight or by sound around Cape May on May 14.  Think we can do it?  Check this site after the event for the results.

    Our team is raising funds for the Cape May Monarch Monitoring Project, founded and coordinated by Dick Walton.  Volunteers with this project (including all of us on this team) have been tagging and counting monarchs that migrate through Cape May for twenty years.  Dr. Lincoln Brower, considered the world’s leading expert on monarch butterflies, serves as the scientific advisor to this project.  It’s believed that this project is the longest continuous census of a migratory insect that has ever been conducted.  Additionally, project volunteers give dozens of scheduled and impromptu educational sessions around Cape May each September and October as migratory monarch butterflies are seen around Cape May.

    The Monarch Monitoring Project accomplishes this important scientific research and education with a small budget, but funds are needed.  Each year we hire a young biologist for two months to conduct field work and assist in the educational presentations.  Funds are also needed to purchase tags and other equipment used in the project.

    We’re participating in the World Series of Birding to support the Monarch Monitoring Project.  If you’d like to help, you can pledge your support or just send a contribution for any amount.  Pledges are typically offered on a “per species” basis -- donors offer a certain amount per species of bird seen during the event.  We’re planning to count butterflies as well as birds (hoping for 10 or more), and we welcome pledges tied to the number of birds, butterflies, or both that we find and identify on May 14.  If that’s too complicated for you, simply send a check for any amount written to the New Jersey Audubon Society, with “Monarch Project #024” written in the memo area, and mail to Mark Garland at PO Box 154, Cape May Pt., NJ  08212, or give your check to any member of the team.

    Thanks for reading this far, and thanks for your support.  I’ll post a summary of our day shortly after the event.

Above: monarch tagged at Cape May Point.

Below: monarchs clustering on roost in Mexico.

Monarchs gliding above the winter roost site at

Cerro Pelon, in central Mexico.

To return to Mark’s web site click here.

For Mark’s regular web site click here.

Results are in!  The Monarchists tallied 115 species of birds plus 5 species of butterflies.  See the full account here.