Bird Quest 2016 – “Hope” is the thing with feathers…


“Hope” is the thing with feathers,
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops – at all.


- Emily Dickinson

May 7nd, 2016 was a great day for birds and thankfully there were more sightings of birds then there was of the sun. The gloomy weather didn’t keep away the birds or the people who participated in the 17th annual Gloucester County Bird Quest.

The event draws people from across the county and beyond to look for as many different species of birds within Gloucester County as possible from 7am to noon. By 12:30pm everyone met at Scotland Run Lake Park for food, t-shirts, prizes and more importantly – to share their fun.

I heard teams talking about the scarlet tanager (a bright red bird with black wings that generally is only found at the top of large trees in a forest) they saw up close; or the bald eagle female sitting on a nest while the male eagle flew in with a fish to feed the young; or the pileated woodpecker (largest woodpecker in NJ – think Woody the Woodpecker – that was new to the count this year) that flew over them while they were looking for more common birds. I heard excitement, I heard compassion, and I heard a caring for the natural places we have in Gloucester County that still harbor these things with feathers. These natural places are havens of hope for our children and grandchildren into the future. I was so glad to see many children at the event. I hope in 17+ years there will still be sightings of bald eagles, scarlet tanagers, blue-winged warblers, and pileated woodpeckers in Gloucester County and NJ. That is our hope and that is why we continue to have events like Bird Quest.

This year, the winning team was the Wenonah Warblers who saw an astounding 109 species of birds that morning. That is a tremendous effort which shows their dedication and their bird knowledge. That is only two bird species off of the Bird Quest record of 111 species seen in the five hours. Way to go Wenonah Warblers.

Collectively, all the participants of Bird Quest, we saw 151 species of birds that morning. That is a great number for 5 hours in Gloucester County. We had lots of write-ins and many good looks at special birds. What else could you ask for on Bird Quest?

Check out the final checklist to see all of the species of birds seen on Bird Quest 2016.

I encourage everyone to go out and enjoy this wonderful phenomenon we have in the Eastern US of migration, beautiful song birds, beautiful bird songs, and “Hope” those things with feathers...

Thank you to all the sponsors – specifically Wheelabrator which paid for the buses, and the educational materials - and to all the volunteers who make this event a success: the On-site committee, the bus leaders, the walk leaders, the training leaders, Karen Allen and Ron Kegel for the additional door prizes donated, the Bird Quest Committee, and any others who have made a donation or contributed to the success of the event. A HUGE THANK YOU!

Save the date: May 6, 2017 our 18th annual Gloucester County Bird Quest. We welcome any suggestions, improvements, and all offers of help. Contact me if you would like to be a part of the planning for future Bird Quests.

- Brian Hayes, BirdQuest Coordinator - bhayes@eirc.org, 856.582.7000 x110


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