Birdathon Rules

1. Counting

A. Count only full species as indicated by the current OSNZ national checklist (4th Edition, 2010). For vagrants not yet recorded in NZ, they must be full species as designated by an internationally recognized checklist (e.g. IOC or Clements), and observers must submit all relevant evidence to the OSNZ records committee. Despite being on the official checklist, red junglefowl (chicken), helmeted guineafowl, and red-legged partridge may not be counted, as they are not currently considered established in the wild.

B. Birds must be conclusively identified by sight or sound. Use common sense: if in doubt about the bird’s identity, don’t count it. Identification may be confirmed after the original observation if that identification is based solely on field notes/photographs made while the bird was living and unrestrained during the count period. If counting a species retroactively in this manner, the bird in question must have been recognized as different in the field at the time of observation. In other words, participants may not photograph flocks of birds then pick out new species after the fact. A bird identified to one of a species group (i.e. skua sp., shearwater sp., parakeet sp., etc.) may be counted as a species if no other in that group is counted.

C. An introduced species may be counted if it is part of an established breeding population. For example, Peafowl in the rough backcountry of Wanganui may be counted, but a single male peafowl at the Hamilton Zoo may not. In addition to the three uncountable game birds mentioned above, Muscovy Ducks are also NOT countable in this competition.

D. Birds counted must be alive, wild, and unrestrained. Birds responding to tape-recorders or feeders may be counted (use appropriate discretion—do not play tapes in heavily birded areas, or if nesting birds could become agitated). Injured birds may be counted if wild and unrestrained. Eggs do not count as birds.

E. In order for all detected species to count, 95+% must be confidently heard or seen by ALL team members. Therefore if a team detects 100 species in 24 hours, a maximum of 5 species can be heard and/or seen by single observers only.

2. Time

All counting must be within a single 24-hour period (Must be consecutive hours), determined by where the count begins or ends. (e.g. If you start counting at 4pm on a Saturday, you must stop counting at 4pm on Sunday). If a team chooses, they can retroactively decide when their official count started based on when key birds were seen, however they must be certain of the exact time for each species.

3. Area

Any geographic area within NZ territory may be covered (Including a range of 200 nautical miles from land).

4. Travel

A. Travel may be by any means, provided that all participants remain within direct voice-contact distance during all travel except timeouts. A time out occurs when team members are out of direct voice contact (e.g. different vehicles, toilet, petrol station). Birds cannot be counted during, but time continues to tick.

B. When motorized vehicles are used, all participants must travel in the same vehicle, except during time outs.

5. Participants

A. Any number of participants may constitute a team.

B. Nonparticipating companions may accompany the team and may record or may drive the vehicle. A companion may not aid in identification of, nor in any way indicate to the participants the presence of any bird not previously identified by every participant.

6. Conduct

Each participant must:

A. Remain within direct voice-contact distance of all other participants at all times, except during time outs.

B. Make every reasonable effort to identify personally and to help other team members identify every species counted by the team.

C. Count only birds personally and unquestionably identified.

D. Review the Big Day Count Rules before the start of the Count.

E. Observe appropriate birding ethics.

F. Drive safely.

G Abide by New Zealand Law.

7. Outside Information

A. During the Count, teams must make every reasonable effort to avoid receiving bird-finding help from nonparticipants. Phone and radio contacts and pre-arranged field encounters are not permitted. Participants may not travel with or walk any substantial distance with non-participants, except with companions, as provided in Rule 5B. When other birders are encountered accidentally, participants may not solicit bird-finding information and should avoid receiving any information from them, to the extent that common courtesy allows. If despite all precautions information is received during an accidental encounter, the team may use it. (For example, you can’t call a friend and ask them what is currently showing at their local wader roost, but if you are at a wader roost and a random birder walks up and informs you that they just had a Broad-billed Sandpiper down the road, you may seek it out and count it).

B. Any information received prior to the Count may be used during the Count.

8. Ethics

Each participant should strive to maintain proper birding ethics at all times.