Our 24-hour recreational birding competition


19th Annual Muckrace — September 18-19th, 2015

In 2014, the top team found 121 species and we raised over $10,200 for habitat and public access projects in the Complex. In one year, as many as 192 species have been found by the combined efforts of all the teams, the most ever tallied by one team was a remarkable 188.

2015 Highlights


Species Seen

Funds Raised

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.

What is the Muckrace?

Teams 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 2014 logged 121 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.

Teams can register under several categories:

  • Competitive
  • Youth
  • Low-Carbon
  • Photo
  • Family/Mentor
  • Recreational
The 19th Annual Muckrace Musings

The 19th Annual Muckrace Musings

This ‘Big Day’, 24-hour birding event and premier fundraising effort of the Friends of the Montezuma Wetlands Complex continues to provide good times for birders of all ages. Although rain paid a visit mid-day on Saturday, and returned with about a half-hour to go, spirits were not dampened for the all-time record numbers of 135 participants and 37 teams. A grand total of 188 species were recorded by at least one team. In the competitive category, “B.S. in Birding”, a new team of students from U of Rochester and Brockport, topped out with 121 species, which matches last year’s highest single team total. In the Recreational category, the “Geneseedeaters” checked off 101 species and made it to first place in that category for the 3rd time in their 3 years of Muckracing. The “From Heron to Bitternity” team placed first in the Family/Mentor category with 96 species. The Shutterbirds (Eaton Birds) won the Photo category for a second year in a row with 71 species – one more than they tallied last year. The Low-Carbon category was again won by Team Sittidae (Eaton Birding Society) with 57 species recorded at their single location – Knox-Marsellus Marsh. Finally, we were happy to see 2 Youth teams this year, with “Birds R Us” (sponsored by Rochester Birding Association/Gen. Valley Audubon) coming out on top with a very strong 89 species. Nicholas Kachala and Robert Buckert made up that well-prepared, successful new Youth team, and their highlight of the day was seeing and carefully identifying a Long-billed Dowitcher. Highlights and Notables Overall, 19 species of waterfowl, 8 species of diurnal raptors, 21... read more
The 18th Annual Muckrace Musings

The 18th Annual Muckrace Musings

Cool weather prevailed and a mid-day rain shower confounded some of the best laid birding strategies, but a crazy good time was had by all at the 2014 Montezuma Muckrace. This ‘Big Day’, 24-hour birding event is the premier fund-raising effort of the Friends of the Montezuma Wetlands Complex. A new record of 29 teams registered. This included 11 Recreational teams, 6 teams in the Family/Mentor category (a new high), 2 teams in a new Photo category which required participants to identify AND photograph their birds, 1 Low-Carbon team (no fossil fuels used), and 9 Competitive teams. The total of 107 participants was second all-time. As of this date, over $10,200 has been raised to support conservation efforts in the Complex, especially those efforts that will contribute to more birds and better viewing of birds. Congratulations to the winning teams in each category. In the competitive category it was Wind Birders (L & B Farms) with 121 species including a new species for the 18-year old Muckrace – a Cackling Goose. Wind Birders also had ‘good finds’ of Ruddy Turnstone and Hudsonian Godwit. In the Recreation category, the Geneseedeaters (Rochester Davis-Fetch Corporation), topped the tally with 111 species, including ‘good finds’ – Stilt Sandpiper, Common Nighthawk, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. The Blue and Bluer team (self-sponsored) topped the Family/Mentor category with a remarkable 100 species and ‘good finds’ of Hooded Merganser and Lincoln’s Sparrow. The Shutterbirds (Eaton Birds) won the new Photo category with 70 species and notable species of Merlin and Bank Swallow. Finally, the Low-Carbon category was won by Team Sittidae (Eaton Birding Society) with notable finds of... read more

Items for Muckrace Enthusiasts