Back in February, David issued a challenge to the Naturalists: whoever recorded the highest number of birds on eBird will, at the end of the year, be awarded ultimate birding bragging rights and a Sibley Field Guide to Birds.

eBird is an online collaborative observation system; it allows birders of all levels to look up and report bird sightings in their area. Educated ornithologists and civilians alike are able to contribute to the scientific community by sharing their sightings on this “online checklist program.”

(Click here to explore eBird and to report your own sightings.)

David’s special interest is in ornithology; before working here at Saint Christopher, he was in charge of bird research on Alcatraz Island.

(Photo cred Selimah Harmon)

He issued this challenge to encourage the Naturalist staff to (explore) our ornithologist sides and to contribute to the bird records of the greater Charleston area. The encouragement worked, apparently; the Sibley Field Guide prize is no longer necessary for those who took up the challenge, because they’ve already purchased their own. They now enjoy birding for the sake of birding.

Because Selimah has been birding for years, she was entered into competition with David and Justin. Her goal was to beat David, she is currently in the lead: Selimah, 142; Justin, 133; and David, 138. David is reluctantly proud of Selimah for her lead.

Identifying species.

Sibley identifying.

Scott, Cortney, and Sydney also took up the challenge. Cortney, back in February, told me that she was just giving the hobby a trial run, because before this year she’d be more likely to make fun of birders than give them any credit. Cort can no longer be called anything less than a birder–as I type this, in fact, she’s on a birding trip to Bowles Island with Selimah and David.

The current scores: Scott, 82; Cortney, 95; Sydney, 65.

These scores will change by the end of the year, especially as migratory species make their way to the Charleston area.

Coming next week: a photo gallery of Selimah’s bird photos.

Selimah is a rather talented photographer, so it’ll be worth taking a peek at.