Superbowl of Birding

Winter birding at Plum Island with Joppa Flats Education Center

Lead Sponsor - Zeiss

Zeiss logo

Winter is a wonderful time to bird in northeastern Massachusetts and southeastern New Hampshire. In celebration of this season, the Joppa Flats hosts the Superbowl of Birding event every January.

This is a unique competition to find the greatest number of species and to earn the greatest number of points based on the rarity of the birds recorded. The Zeiss Joppa Cup is awarded to the team that collects the most points by the end of the specified 12-hour birding day. Strategy and planning are essential in order to win this competition.

The event consists of activities targeted for all levels of birders. Expert birders can compete for a number of awards, including the Zeiss Joppa Cup, Essex County Award, or Rockingham County Award. Teams with young birders 18 years old or younger can vie for the Seekers Award. The Fledgling Award encourages young families to participate.

Prize Categories

  • The Zeiss Joppa Cup: Grand prize for the team with the greatest number of points
  • Director's Award: Greatest number of species
  • Essex County Award: Most points in Essex County
  • Rockingham County Award: Most points in Rockingham County
  • Parker River NWR Award: Most points on the refuge
  • Sitting Duck Award: Award for the greatest number of species tallied from a fixed point
  • Seekers Award: Award for the first team to complete the special Seekers checklist
  • Fledgling Award: Award for the first team to complete the special Fledgling checklist
  • Newbies Award: Award for the greatest number of points tallied by any team with 2 or more members 18 years of age or younger
  • Lifer Award: Participant who sees the most new life birds during the competition

2016 Results

Winners of the Zeiss Joppa Cup: Belichukars, Lauren Kras (Captain) © Susan Carlson
Winners of the Zeiss Joppa Cup: Belichukars, Lauren Kras (Captain) © Susan Carlson

The Superbowl of Birding XIII was held on an uncharacteristically warm January 30, 2016. Twenty-three teams, comprising over 100 participants, competed for prizes in six categories. And here are the results!

Thanks to the fantastic Joppa Flats volunteers and staff, including the judges, checkers, set-up crew, dinner helpers, and especially Madame Chief Justice Ann Gurka, the salad queen Meg de Give, and the cookie queen Julia Yoshida.

Thanks also to our sponsors: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Bird Watcher's Supply and Gift, Perseus Distribution, Joppa Flats, and Anonymous Donors.

Finally, we gratefully acknowledge the support of Zeiss as our lead corporate sponsor for this event. Without the help of all, the Superbowl of Birding would not be possible.

Thanks to all for the great birding, huge help from all the volunteers and staff at Joppa, and fabulous sponsors. See you all next year at Superbowl XIV.




Team Name

Team Captain

Zeiss Joppa Cup 198 88 Belichukars Lauren Kras
Director's Cup 192 87 Blue-gray Passcatchers Vin Zollo
Essex Co. Excels Award 190 86 Return of the Great Auks                     David Bates 
Rockingham Co. Rocks Award 137 70 NH 4th and Longspurs Steve Mirick
Parker River NWR Award 63 73 Soaring Raptor Kids Etienne Marchione
Seekers Award (29 of 30 species) 114 65 Snowy Howls Deb Mauer
NewBies Award 147 74 Ornitheologians Dick Wright
Lifer Award (Isabel Rasmussen with 24) 92 54 Ipswich River Robins Cori Brauer & Angela Walsh

Scoring for Each Team




1st Eider Downies    116   66
4th & Longspurs 137 70
Accidentals          136     67
Avian Avarice 122      67
Belichukars 198 88
Blue-gray Passcatchers     192       87
Chat Happens 136 69
Fly By Nights        131     70
Gordon College King Pishers       142       71
Great Marsh Wrens 106 59
Grouse Whisperers    116    64
Ipswich River Robins  92       54
North Branch Noddies    105      59
Ornitheologians 147     74
Pennsylvania Coal Tits 124 66
Return of the Great Auks              190   86
Soaring Raptor Kids           63   73
Snowy Howls         114   65
Sweet Chin Music 97 59
Twitchers in the Rye               95   59
Unflappables 127      67
Wicked Pishahs   160     77
Wry Knot 112 64

Full Species List