269 species seen in NJ `World Series of Birding'

May 11, 2009 5:50:07 AM PDT
This competition is for the birds.

Bird enthusiasts making their way through New Jersey on Saturday catalogued a total of 269 different species as part of the New Jersey Audubon Society's annual "World Series of Birding."

The competitive fundraising event asks birders to identify as many species as they can by sight or sound in a 24-hour period.

The "Lagerhead Shrikes" team, sponsored by Nikon, repeated as winners, coming in first overall by counting 229 species in the state.

The "Sapsuckers," a team from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y., sponsored by Swarovski Optik, had been hoping to avenge a defeat last year after two years as top birders. But the team came in third, with 221 species.

The state Audubon Society started the event in 1984 as a way to raise money for conservation causes, and it has raised over $8 million. Birders can take part as individuals or as part of teams, and can count birds in the whole state or a specific county or area. There are divisions for teens and seniors, as well as categories for digital photography.

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