Come join in this friendly competition sponsored by Washtenaw Audubon!

Here are the rules and regulations. Email us if you have any questions

  • Form a team of at least three people and select a public road in Washtenaw County that is likely to yield a wide variety of species in early March. The following roads are not eligible for the competition: Huron River Drive, Michigan Avenue, North Territorial. All other roads are allowed, but please use good judgment in considering safety in addition to bird-related considerations.
  • More than one team is allowed to use a given road. You will not "own" your road.
  • Start searching your road as early as you like on the morning of the event (i.e., any time after midnight). Look and listen for as many bird species as possible, stopping not later than 11 AM. Only species observed from midnight to 11 AM will count.
  • A species will count if is identified positively by either sound or sight. At least half of your team has to see or hear a species for it to count.
  • Your team has to bird together. If you split up, you either become separate teams (if each fragment has enough members), or you move to the Outlaw Division (see below).
  • You must stay within fifteen feet of the edge of your chosen road. Any birds seen or heard whle you are beyond that range will not count. If your road has a break or a shift, you can only count the birds observed from your road, not the connecting ones. Examples of interrupted roads include: 5 Mile, 6 Mile, 7 Mile, Arkona, Austin, Bemis, Braun, Jennings, Jerusalem, Lima Center, Maple, Morgan, Napier, Northfield Church, Textile, Trinkle, Sharon Hollow, Steinbach, Willow and Zeeb.
  • You must stay within Washtenaw County.
  • Hybrids of species are interesting, but they won't count.


  • In general, each species found will be worth one point; except
  • Species found by no other team will receive a bonus point in your team's species count; and
  • Teams that include people who have never participated in ANY previous Washtenaw Audubon Society outing before will receive an additional two points for each newcomer, but with a maximum of six of these bonus points per team.


  • Drive safely and predictably
  • Do not obstruct traffic
  • Be visible - wear bright colors
  • Be courteous and alert

Post-Competition Meeting:

  • We will meet afterwards to compile results and calculate team scores. Location is TBD.

OUTLAW DIVISION! Too many rules for you? Don't like birding as a team? Don't want to commit to being part of a team because of a potential schedule conflict? Please participate anyway. Only teams that follow all the rules are eligible to win, but we are happy to have others participate and we will be interested in hearing about the birds you find.
Please note that these rules may be subject to revision up to one week before the contest begins.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens has started remodeling to convert the coat room and adjacent storage room to a handicap-accessible ramp connecting the main lobby with the classroom hallway. This will impact our meeting on February 15, and possibly the March 15 meeting as well. The impacts are as follows:

  • To get to the meeting room, you must enter at the front lobby. Do not enter at the west lobby (closest entrance to the large parking lot), as you will find the hallway blocked due to the construction and you will not be able to get to the main lobby or the meeting room. 
  • The existing men's bathrooom adjacent to the main lobby has been temporarily converted to a women's bathroom for the duration of the construction. 
  • The only operational men's bathroom is accessible from the west lobby. To use the men's room, you must exit the building at front and walk outside to enter at the west lobby. 
  • The sidewalk from the west parking lot and west lobby has no lighting. If this concerns you, bring a flashlight. 

This year we are trying something new: online registration for the Ann Arbor Christmas Bird Count. This is how we prefer that everyone register, as it will give us a complete (or mostly complete) database of participants and contact information. To register:


For more information, visit our Christmas Bird Count page

This upcoming June, WAS will be offering its 6th international field trip, this time to the bird-rich European country of Spain. We will spend 10 days (June 20-29, 2017) birding a variety of habitats in search of as many species we can, focusing on the birds unique to this part of the world. We start in the hilly grasslands of central Spain looking for birds such as Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Iberian Magpies, Hoopoes, European Bee-eaters and many others.

On Saturday, December 3, 2016, this annual trip is a favorite for hard-core WAS members. Because access to the landfill is restricted, we rent vans for the trip and have to limit the number of participants. First priority goes to Washtenaw Audubon members who have not recently been on this trip. Second priority will be given to Washtenaw Audubon members who have previously attended this trip. Non-members may be placed on a wait list on a first come, first served basis and will be admitted three days before the trip to fill any remaining spots. There are 20 spots available.

by CBC Compiler, Jacco Gelderloos

Online registration is new this year! CLICK HERE!

As I sit here behind my computer, I cannot help but chuckle at the somewhat surreal circumstance of writing this year’s CBC article after an (almost) 80-degree day! Then again, temperatures are forecast to drop this weekend, and the first of the season’s Dark-eyed Juncos have been reported. In short, winter is irrevocably on its way!

Led by Don Chalfant, this is a low-key international competition that Don has participated in for the past 14 years. The task is to try to identify by sight or sound as many bird species as possible while remaining in a circle of 17 feet in diameter. For participants other than Don, the timing can be completely flexible. You can arrive before dawn to join in the owling or you can come after breakfast, in the afternoon--whatever works for you. It is also a great outing for those with restricted mobility since everything takes place in a fixed spot. For those staying for any significant amount of time, we recommend bringing food and a chair, in addition to your binoculars. On October 8, with a rain date of October 9th. If bad weather is projected, be sure to check the birders listserve (to subscribe to the Birders mailing list, visit This decision will be made by 4AM.

Saturday, May 14, the second Saturday of the month, dawned cold and wet. There were freezing conditions forecast, with gale force winds, and it was nearly so at 5 a.m. when my husband, Scott, and I set out from home to begin our Spring Migration count in Lodi Township. All over the county, birders were up early - obscenely early - to count birds. 91 birders, to be exact, 20 more than last year. All pitched in for a massive volunteer effort to count all the birds, all the species in our county.

We are looking for volunteers for our first ever Ann Arbor citywide Chimney Swift count, August 12-14, 2016. Watching Chimney Swifts enter their roosts at dusk is a spectacular sight. Volunteers will choose a known Chimney Swift roosting location and stake it out before dusk, counting the swifts as they enter the chimney, as darkness falls. You can sign up for one night/one location at a time, or count each night of the weekend. Chimney Swifts are in steep decline across North America, so let's help find out how they are doing in our city. Bring your friends along, to show them how these very cool aerial insectivores share our city with us. NOTE: Occasionally the swifts will not use a particular location on a given night due to a predator such as a Cooper's Hawk, or another issue. In that case, "no swifts" will still be good information for us! Email Juliet Berger with your results after the survey, and post it on eBird if you have an account.

Click here to sign up!