The 2023 Superbowl of Birding

Two birders spread out from each other on a beach

Saturday, January 28, 2023 • 5:00 am-5:00 pm

We look forward to your participation in our contest this year. The event fosters winter birding, gets people outside, provides an opportunity for friendly competition, and raises awareness of important patches of bird habitat, large and small, in our corner of the world.

The full contest rules are available here. 

The competition includes all of Essex County, MA, and Rockingham County, NH. This map shows all the individual towns that are part of the competition. 

Points are assigned to each species based on how commonly or uncommonly they are found in our area at this time of year. You can see the 2023 official checklist with points values here. 

All ages and levels of experience and competitiveness are welcome in this contest! Here are some specific categories of award designed to include every sort of birdwatcher and birder.

Youth Teams:
If your team includes at least two members 16 years or younger, you qualify as a youth team.

Youth teams are eligible to compete for the Fledgling Award. This award goes to the first youth team to find all of the species on the Fledgling Checklist.

Youth teams are also eligible to compete for the Newbies Award. This award goes to the youth team that earns the greatest number of points.

New and Beginner Birders:
If your team is getting into birding and you’re not yet able to identify all or most species in our area, the Seekers Award is a more manageable challenge. The award goes to the first team to find all the species on the Seekers Checklist. 

The Lifers Award goes to the individual in the contest, on any team, who sees the most species for the first time (these are called “lifers” or “life birds” in the birding community).

Limited mobility or capacity to travel:
Whether you don’t drive, or experience mobility challenges that make walking difficult, we have award categories for you!

The Sitting Duck Award goes to the team that identifies the most species either from within a building, or from a single 25 foot diameter circle outdoors. Whether you compete from your backyard, a balcony, porch, or kitchen window—choose your spot, stay put and let the birds come to you!

The Townie Award goes to the team that identifies the greatest number of species within a single city or town.

We also have additional geographically limited awards for the most points scored in Essex County, the most points scored in Rockingham County, and the most points scored on the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, so if you don’t want to travel all over the place, or have a more sedate approach to birding, there’s an award for you to strive towards!

No matter where you compete, you must adhere to the Mass Audubon Birding Code of Ethics.

We’re happy to have you joining us; good luck, be safe, and happy birding!

How to Participate

$20 per Adult (ages 13 & up) • $10 per Child (ages 6-12)

All participants must register online. Team Captains should email us the names of all team members as well as your team name.

Register >

NOTE: Teams may consist of 4 to 7 people.


Abbreviated Rules for 2023

Date & Time

Saturday, January 28, 5:00 am–5:00 pm 
(Weather Date: Sunday, January 29)


Essex County, MA & Rockingham County, NH
(maps will be provided)


Teams may consist of 4-7 people and must remain together for the entire contest. Teams may NOT be split up to bird different areas simultaneously

  • All Massachusetts and Mass Audubon safety precautions in effect at the start of the contest must be followed.
  • Teams must preregister for the contest.


Each species on the official contest checklist has a point value of 1-5 based on the perceived difficulty of finding the species at this time of year. The team that amasses the greatest number of points will be declared the Joppa Cup winner.

  • Each species may only be counted once.
  • Team checklists must be submitted online.


To be counted, all species must be on the  Official Contest Checklist, or be species currently accepted by the Massachusetts or New Hampshire State Records Committees. Valid species not on the official checklist will have a point value of 5.

Awarding of Prizes

All winners of this year's awards will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony the evening after the contest. Winners will also be announced on Massbird, NHBird, and the Mass Audubon website. Prizes are limited to bragging rights.