Would you like to learn more about the birds you see throughout the seasons? Are you interested in birds and their migratory patterns? Would you like to participate in a large community science project across several state parks? Then DCNR has an outdoor competition for you!
Pennsylvania state parks are already a great place to go birding. This year, several state parks are participating in the 2022 Fall Migration Round-Up competition to see which park tallies the most diverse species list during the competition.
Take a Peek at Some Beaks
Connecticut warblers are infamously hard to spot due to their low population and preference for dense vegetation.
The Fall Migration Round-Up begins Saturday, September 24 and runs through Sunday, October 2.
Birders of all levels are invited to contribute to the fall migration round-up by visiting any or all participating parks during the competition.
Birders are asked to keep track of the types of birds they see and to submit the list through eBird or paper checklists at each park's office. Specific guidelines for the competition are located on the paper checklists.
Binoculars and a field guide are all you really need to be a part of the round-up survey. Some state parks even offer options to borrow binoculars and bird field guides, along with guided programs to learn about birds.
No Birding Experience Required
Black-bellied plover seen during the 2020 Fall Migration Round-Up at Prince Gallitzin State Park.
If you would like to participate and have limited knowledge about birds, DCNR staff is here to help. Staff encourage that you take pictures and document detailed descriptions of the birds you see to get an expert to help identify birds.
Cellphone apps such as Merlin or the Audubon Society's birding app and field guides to birds such as Kaufman, Sibley, Peterson, or the National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America are also useful in helping identify birds.
Regardless of your birding experience, DCNR encourages everyone to get out and see Pennsylvania's migratory birds and help tally the different species. Whether it's a cardinal or a rare bird from the west, each observation counts.
State Parks Participating in Fall Migration Round-Up
Philadelphia vireos are only seen during migration periods, and do not nest in Pennsylvania.
What started as a friendly competition between Bald Eagle and Prince Gallitzin state parks in 2020 to help create safe outdoor activities during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is now up to 21 state parks participating this season.
State parks participating in the 2022 Fall Migration Round-Up include:
- Bald Eagle
- Black Moshannon
- Canoe Creek
- French Creek
- Kettle Creek
- Kings Gap
- Kinzua Bridge
- Little Buffalo
- Little Pine
- Mt. Pisgah
- Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center
- Poe Valley
- Prince Gallitzin
- Ricketts Glen
- Ridley Creek
- White Clay Creek
- Yellow Creek
There aren't any prizes for the competition, but the winning park will have bragging rights over the other participating parks.
As an example, Little Buffalo State Park in Perry County viewed 124 species during the 2022 Spring Migration Round-Up -- the highest among the 18 participating state parks.
DCNR staff managing the program hope the competition helps to educate visitors about community science, bird species diversity, and the joys of birding.
Birds are increasingly affected by climate change, habitat loss, invasive species, and biodiversity loss. This program helps educate participants and state parks visitors about these realities.
Additionally, by introducing young people to birds, DCNR hopes to develop the next generation of birders, naturalists, and biologists, and increase the appreciation of the natural world in all people.
Mark Your Calendars!
A palm warbler seen during the spring migration period.
Because the competition has been key in engaging visitors and providing a unique, fun outdoor experience, organizers hope to expand the competition to all state parks in the coming years to enhance the incredible value of monitoring the various birds migrating through state parks.
For more information regarding the competition at a specific park, please contact that park directly.