Colorado Birding Challenge held May 20, 2023 to Benefit Pinyon Jay Conservation.

Thirteen teams competed for glory during the third annual Colorado Birding Challenge, raising money for Pinyon Jay Conservation in Colorado. An additional thirteen teams participated in the “Bird-your-way” category throughout the month of May 2023. Fun and excellent birding were had by all but equally importantly over $23,241 has been raised for conservation. Competition categories included Automobile, Green, and Youth.

The winner of the Youth category is The Ruffled Feathers, comprised of three young brothers. Ezekiel, Ellison, and Wayland Lynum were driven by their mother Erin Lynum over a route in Larimer County that produced 70 species. The route included Rocky Mountain National Park, Watson Lake, and grasslands near Soapstone Prairie. Erin wrote, “my boys just completed their day of birding and were so excited to set a new personal record. They even found and ID’d several birds they had never seen before.” Highlights for the team included Eastern Screech-Owl, Sandhill Crane, and Indigo Bunting. The Lynums have a strong streak going having won the Youth category in 2022 as well. In 2024, we’re looking for more youth teams to join Challange and take on The Ruffled Feathers.

In the Green category, two bike teams and a hiking team squared off against each other. Leading the peloton were the Chaffee Chasers, comprised of Sally Waterhouse and Greg Mihalik, hiking in Chaffee County. They amassed 79 species which represented 70.5% of the par value assigned to Chaffee. One of the more interesting species they found was a female Blackpoll Warbler. Runners up in the Green category were the White-bearded Helmetcrests who tallied 68% of par in Larimer County and the Monkey Wrench Gang who found 49% of par in Mesa County.

Nine teams participated in the Automobile category of the competition. The 2023 winners are Birds R Us, comprised of Kelly Ormesher and Valentina Roumi. They observed 102 species in Sedgwick County, representing 87.5% of par for the northeast-most county in Colorado. Their winning effort began at 4:45 AM and ended at 5:41 PM. Highlights included White-rumped Sandpiper, Green Heron, Blackpoll Warbler, Black-headed Grosbeak, Ferruginous Hawk, and Broad-winged Hawk. Team captain Kelly drove 11 hours from Missouri to participate. Valentina scouted the area for two days leading up to the competition on May 20. Their hard work paid off. Runners up in the Automobile category were Team Aeronautes in El Paso County with 80.5% of par and Tiny but Mighty in Broomfield County with 70.5% of par.

Congratulations to all participants and thank you to all donors that helped make the 2023 Colorado Birding Challenge a success.

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