Save the Date — 19th Annual Montezuma Muckrace

September 18-19th, 2015


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Past Muckrace Musings for your enjoyment:

This will the 19th annual Muckrace scheduled for September 18-19th, 2015. In 2014, the top team found 121 species and we raised over $10,200. Currently it also says that as many as 192 species have been found by the combined efforts of all the teams, but from the records I have the most ever tallied was 188, but that isn't much different.

Mid-September is a great time to be birding at the Complex.

This globally-significant Important Bird Area supports a million or more waterfowl of at least 30 species, thousands of inland migrating shorebirds, a myriad of ‘confusing’ fall warblers and many rare and endangered species. The 242-square mile Montezuma Focus Area, which was highlighted under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan as critical migratory bird habitat, serves as the boundary for the Muckrace.

Several Categories for Teams to Register Under

Teams register under several categories (Competitive, Youth, Low-Carbon, Photo, Family/Mentor, or Recreational) and bird together from 7:00 PM Friday until 7:00 PM Saturday, trying to locate as many bird species as possible. Winning teams over the past several years have identified as many as 148 species, and collectively, as many as 192 species have been seen by the 15 to 28 teams, in a single day. The winning competitive team in 2013 logged 139 species. But, being an expert is hardly a requirement for enjoying the Muckrace. Many other birders of all ages and experience joined in on the fun under the various recreational categories, including the newest ‘Photo Category’, where participants count only the birds they can identify and photograph.

This event, now in its 18th year, has grown in popularity and set records for participation in each of the past 2 years.

Some say it is the cool custom-designed T-shirts that everyone is collecting. Others say it is the prizes, made possible by over 25 generous sponsors, including top sponsor: Wild Birds Unlimited at Sapsucker Woods. In addition to the funds donated by sponsors, money is also raised through pledges sought by participants.

Event Organizers

Event organizers include the Friends of the Montezuma Wetlands Complex, N.Y.S. Department of Environmental Conservation, Audubon NY and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and over 2 dozen volunteers. The Montezuma Audubon Center, 2295 Route 89, Savannah, NY will serve as the event headquarters, with participants returning to this site at the finish on Saturday to compile their checklists, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy recapping highlights of the day.

The Muckrace's Impact

Over the 18 years that the Muckrace has been in existence, funds have supported the restoration of wetlands, the regeneration of important wildlife habitat, and the expansion of environmental education and public use facilities. The 2013 competition accounted for over $10,600 in donations. To date, a portion of these funds were used last winter to continue a flyway-wide winter banding program for the American Black Duck.