Bird Poker 2016 - Information and Rules

WHEN: MARCH 26, 2016

Object of the game:  Play your team’s best bird poker hand and score the most points.

Judges will have previously assigned a point value to species based upon their likelihood of occurrence in the park around the date of the event. Some species may be “wildcards” worth additional points.  Point values will not be made available until all teams have played their hand at the close of the competition.

Teams must select and “play” their best five species based upon what the team believes will earn the most points.  A species may be played by a team only once no matter how many individuals of a particular species have been identified by the team.  For instance, if a team sees 50 American White Pelican, the team may include the species in its hand only once.

Teams may consist of 2-5 members.

Teams may bird in the park anytime from 5:00 AM until 5:30 PM on the day of the event.  All scorecards must be submitted to the judges’ table by 5:30.  The park officially opens at 5:00 AM.  Teams may bird in the park any amount of time, and any number of times, during this time period.  For example, a team may elect to bird from 5:00 AM until 11:00 AM and then again from 2:00 PM until 5:00 PM.

The playing field encompasses the entire park including the entrance gate area, the trail up the creek to the waterfalls and the trails and field on the east side of the creek.

Team members must bird together at all times. All species seen or heard by the requisite number of team members while the full team is together in the park are playable.  Flyovers and species seen or heard emanating from outside the park are countable as long as all team members are together and in the park when the species is identified (e.g., species heard from across the lake, seen on the lake or seen on the Dell property will count so long as the team is in the park when the bird is seen or heard).

At least 75% of all team members must identify the bird by species in order for it to be playable in a team’s hand, although different individual birds may be seen/heard by the team members at different times.  For example, if only one member of a four-person team hears a Pine Siskin in the morning and two other team members see the species in the afternoon, Pine Siskin is a playable species for that team.

All birds must be identified to species (e.g., accipiter species, night-heron species, cliff/cave swallow, melanerpes species, etc. will not be playable), except that (1) titmouse, hybrid or otherwise, may be playable and will count as only one species; and (2) Eastern/Western Meadowlark is playable and counts as only one species, but will be allotted less points than a meadowlark identified to species. Also, identification of a notable subspecies (e.g., Yellow-rumped (Audubon’s) Warbler, Northern Flicker (Red-shafted), etc.) may earn more points than identification by species alone.  This will only apply to the most common sub-species generally seen in the area.

The winning team will be the team whose hand tallies the most points.  Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place teams.

Tie-Breakers:  In the event of a tie in either first, second or third place, the following tie-breakers will be applied in the following order:

Highest points scored for a single species in the team’s hand.
Second highest points scored for a single species in the team’s hand and so on for third, fourth and fifth species.
If a tie is not broken at that point, a drawing will be held to break the tie.

If you have any questions, please contact us at

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