Blitz 5-30-16

Birding Blitz 2016

Join us for the 15th Annual Birding Blitz Competition to be held on Saturday, April 30, 2016!

2016 Birding Blitz Competition winning teams will be announced and awarded prizes at a brunch on Sunday, May 1, at the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.

Click here to view the 2014 Birding Blitz winners!

Competition and Registration Information

The Birding Blitz is an event held where teams compete to see and hear the most species of birds in a 24-hour period, while raising money for conservation in southernmost Illinois. Teams can search for birds throughout the area of southernmost Illinois, from Jackson, Williamson, Saline, and Gallatin counties south through Union, Johnson, Pope, Hardin, Alexander, Pulaski, and Massac counties. This area includes cypress swamps, upland forests, grasslands, and big rivers. Public lands in the area include Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Cache River State Natural Area, Mermet State Fish and Wildlife Area, Horseshoe Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area, Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Giant City State Park, Trail of Tears State Forest, and the Shawnee National Forest. Birds counted along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers must be no further than half way across the river when seen or heard. Prior to the Birding Blitz competition, teams gather pledges for each bird species recorded. After the designated 24-hour competition period is completed, each team submits a list of birds documented to the Birding Blitz Awards Committee to determine winning teams. Winning teams in each competition category are announced and awarded prizes during the Birding Blitz Awards Brunch. After the awards event, each team is responsible for collecting pledge donations. Pledge donations are used to help support wetland restoration efforts in the Cache River Watershed.

Two birdwatchers look to the sky.

Check out the 2014 Birding Blitz winners and a composite list of species located in southernmost Illinois during the past Birding Blitz competitions, which includes Common and Scientific names and order as per the Illinois Ornithological Society. To view the species list, click here.  For a list of last year's winners, click here.

All teams must follow the American Birding Association's Big Day Count rules, a copy of which will be provided upon registration and can be reviewed at With the exception of category "Open B," teams may make observations as early as 12:01 a.m. on April 30th and continue until as late as 12:00 p.m. that night.

There are five competition categories. Teams must have a minimum of two members.

  • Open A - This category is the true Big Day challenge, within the competition boundaries.
  • Open B / Dawn to Dusk - It mirrors category Open A with the exception that participants in this category may start no sooner than an hour before sunrise and must quit no later than an hour after sunset. Starting time will be 5:00 a.m. Ending time will be 8:45 p.m.
  • County Big Day - Teams restrict their Big Day to one selected county of their choice within the competition boundary; enticing birders to more intensely explore previously under-birded areas.
  • Senior - Follows the true Big Day rules but all team members must be 55 years of age or older.
  • Muscle-powered - Teams cannot use any motorized form of transportation in their pursuit of a Big Day.

Looking for Avians

Shore Birding

Bicycle birdwatchers try to catch a glimps of a unique feathered friend.

The registration fee to compete is $25 per team member ($10 each for students). Prizes will be awarded to the winning team in each of the five competition categories. All team members will receive a 2016 Nature Fest t-shirt.

Teams are required to raise a minimum of $100 in the form of pledges. These pledges will be used to help support wetland restoration efforts in the Cache River Watershed. Prizes will also be awarded to the team collecting the most in pledge dollars. For a printable pledge form, click here (it will open in a new window). Teams that do not secure the minimum $100 in pledges are welcome to participate but will not qualify for prizes.

2016 Birding Blitz Competition winning teams will be announced and awarded prizes at a brunch on Sunday, May 1, at the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 8588 IL Route 148, Marion.

Birding Blitz Registration

Registrations must be postmarked by April 20, 2016 to avoid late registration charge. Click here for a printable registration form (it will open in a new window). Complete this form then forward it to:

Birding Blitz Registration
c/o Southern Illinois Audubon Society
P.O. Box 222
Carbondale, IL 62903-0222

For more information, contact: Joe Merkelbach at or Rhonda Rothrock at / 618.684.6605.



Cache River Nature Fest is sponsored by these organizations . . . Thank you!  

FWS IDNR SI Audubon Society Friends of Cache Nature Organization Shawnee Comm. College Shawnee Audubon SouthernMost Illinois Illinois Audubon Sponsors

© 2016 Southern Illinois Audubon Society. All Rights Reserved.