Superbowl of Birding

Woman w binoculars birding in winter © Nick DeCondio
© Nick DeCondio

Semi-Superbowl of Birding 2021


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Thanks for a great 2021 event!

Winter is a wonderful time to bird in northeastern Massachusetts and southeastern New Hampshire, and we celebrate each year by sponsoring the Superbowl of Birding.

But in winter 2021, due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, we modified the scope and rules of the contest.

Instead of the Superbowl of Birding XVIII, this year we ran the Semi-Superbowl of Birding in Essex County, MA, and Rockingham County, NH. The event took place on January 30, from 5:00 am-5:00 pm.

This remained 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 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 to win this competition.

The event consists of activities appropriate for all levels of birders. Dedicated birders compete for all awards, especially the Joppa Cup and Director's Cup, while anyone can compete for the Townie Award or the Sitting Duck Award. 

Prize Categories

  • The Joppa Cup: 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
  • Townie Award: Greatest number of species tallied from a single municipality
  • Sitting Duck Award: Most points compiled by a team birding within a 25-ft diameter circle

Results for 2021 Semi-Superbowl of Birding

Two birders spread out from each other on a beach

Although it wasn't the same annual event we're used to hosting, Joppa Flats is very pleased to report that the first-ever Semi-Superbowl of Birding was a great success!

The 21 teams that participated this year still had to race against the clock to find the greatest number of species and earn the greatest number of points during the 12-hour contest period. 

For the third year in a row, The Thrashers (captained by Davey Walters) won the Joppa Cup with a team record-setting total of 222 points! In addition, a record 10 of this year's 21 teams tried for the Townie Award, dedicated to birding local patches.

The total recorded across all teams was 129 species—impressive considering the cold and windy conditions we had this year. That total includes the 6 write-in species recorded: Eared Grebe, Atlantic Puffin, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Pine Grosbeak, Evening Grosbeak, and Semipalmated Plover.

All of the team names, point totals, and species totals are listed below.

Full Species List

Team Results (alphabetical)




Team Name

Joppa Cup 222 95 The Thrashers
Director's Cup 185 84 Return of the Great Auks
Essex County Award 122 57 Mission Possible
Rockingham County Award 121 63 Birding With Impunity
Parker River NWR Award 103 55 Pine Pigskins
Townie Award 118 64 Townie Solitaire
Sitting Duck Award  41 29 Unnecessary Ruffed Grouse

View Full Results >