Monday, March 28, 2016

Game Time: Champions of the Flyway 2016

As I type this it's after noon Eastern Time, which means the sun has set in Eilat, Israel (they are 7 hours ahead of us) and the teams that have assembled in the southern tip of Israel are making final preparations for the kickoff of the 3rd Annual Champions of the Flyway (COTF) bird race. Modeled after New Jersey Audubon's World Series of Birding (WSB), the COTF has established itself as a fantastic event that raises tens-of-thousands of dollars for bird conservation work throughout Europe and the Middle East each year. This year funds are being raised to combat illegal hunting of migratory birds in Greece. So far they have raised over $62,000 and there's still time to raise more! (Click HERE to support the CMBO team)
For the second year in a row the Cape May Bird Observatory has fielded a team for the event thanks to the generous support of Leica Sport Optics, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), and the Israeli bureau of tourism. Last year the CMBO/Leica American Dippers managed to win the competition with 168 species, only one more than the second-place team and after 24 hours of full-on birding throughout the southern half of the country. This year they hope again to show well during this challenging but very exciting competition. Ultimately the biggest winners will be the birds, and thanks to great supporters of CMBO, our team has also done very well raising over $5,000 for this important cause.

So for those of you who would like to follow along during the competition, there are a few ways to do so. First, follow the hashtag #COTF2016 on Twitter. Most teams are using it and there has been a steady flow of photos and tweets coming through during the last three days of scouting. Also, follow us @cmbobirds on Twitter as we will be posting updates throughout the 24-hour race, and our team will be tagging us in any posts that they tweet out as well. Lastly, keep checking our Facebook page as we will be updating that often as well. The time differential actually makes following along quite comfortable, with the kickoff and ending occurring right after the work day. Expect lots of tweets and posts when you wake up tomorrow, as much of the daytime birding occurs during our night, but tomorrow morning will also be some of the final hours of daylight for the teams so the action during our breakfast could be quite hot! Use the information below to help you follow along and let's give one last big shout out to our favorite COTF team - GO AMERICAN DIPPERS!!!

Some times to keep track of (Eastern Time):

  • 5:00pm Monday March 28th = 12:00am Tuesday March 29th in Israel, the moment when Champions of the Flyway 2016 begins
  • 11:31pm Monday March 28 = 6:31am Tuesday March 29th in Israel, or Sunrise in Eilat
  • 11:57am Tuesday March 29th = 6:57pm Tuesday in Israel, or Sunset in Eilat
  • 5:00pm Tuesday March 29th = 12:00 midnight on Tuesday in Israel, Champions of the Flyway 2016 officially ends


David La Puma
Director, NJ Audubon's Cape May Bird Observatory

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