| This year, chapters across the Commonwealth put on their thinking caps to come up with innovative new ways to connect their members and relieve some of the isolation stress that arrived alongside the pandemic. The South Mountain Audubon Society (SMAS) adapted one of their traditional birding activities to be a little more lockdown-friendly and had great success.|
For the last few years SMAS has engaged its members in birding competitions, focusing on the earliest and latest seasonal sightings of spring and fall migrants. The competitions are friendly and social, offering bragging rights for the birders who log the most sightings within the borders of Adams County, the geographic territory covered by the SMAS. In addition, they also host a year-long, migration competition in which birders get a point for each avian migrant they observe. You can view the SMAS competition data here.
This summer, in an effort to provide their members with more opportunities to safely socialize together, they tried a new two-month, backyard bird competition. Resident and migrant species were allocated 100 points each. As participants began sharing their sightings, they were able to rack up points. The trick was, points were divided equally among every person who observed a given species. So, scores went up and down throughout the competition based on the range of species observed. Scores went up when a participant observed a new bird in their backyard and went down when that same species was spotted by other participants as well. As you might imagine, it made for some lively exchanges and lots of active participation.
“It was great fun,” said Mike Bertram, treasurer and competition mastermind, “and we plan to run the competition again this winter in January and February. If you have questions and would like more information, contact Mike Bertram.