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 was 188.

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

2014 Highlights


Species Seen

Funds Raised

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

Save the date! September 18-19th, 2015