In the world of competitive sports, football has its 17-week season, basketball its 82 games and baseball its never-ending 162-game schedule.
Birding has just one event, the World Series of Birding. It takes place in a single 24-hour period in May across the Garden State, when teams of birders fan out in an attempt to see, hear or otherwise document the presence of the most different species. This year's World Series, the 25th annual, was Saturday.
Yes, there are competitive birders, and yes New Jersey is their stadium. You probably haven't heard of many of the teams, though some can gain enough following locally to raise money for local causes. (The Diving Dabblers, this news editor's hometown team, took fifth place, and the Ralph T. Waterman Bird Club is still accepting donations on its behalf to benefit three local environmental efforts.)
According to the Press of Atlantic City, the teams documented seven never-before-seen species this year: The long-billed dowitcher, the manx shearwater, the American tree sparrow, the white-faced ibis, the western sandpiper, the curlew sandpiper and the Eurasian collared dove.
Here's a look at the top 10 finishers (some of which have corporate sponsors) so you can put together your fantasy league for next year:
Nikon DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes 229
Bushnell CT Audubon Raven Luna-Ticks 222
Swarovski Cornell Lab Swarovski's Sapsuckers 222
Pentax Sport Optics 219
Diving Dabblers 215
Carl Zeiss Sports Optics / CMBO Team Zeiss 212
Morris Land Conservancy Highland Hawks 214
Nine Inch Rails 205
Wicked Witchities 197
Kowa Team Bristlehead 196
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