Big Bird Race (Professional Race) is a 12-hour bird-watching race, with teams of four working together to record as many bird species as possible during the allotted time. Every species recorded must be seen or heard by all members of the team. Teams may start anywhere in Hong Kong but must return to Island House before the end of the race. A judge will examine each team’s log books to determine the winners.
How the Race Works
Rules and Regulations
- Teams should consist of three to four core members, plus a recorder and/or driver if required. The core members should see or hear all the species submitted as the team's race record. Large teams should only only minate four core members for this purpose And indicate on the log book who these are.
- Teams should remain together for the whole race, unless there are exceptional reasons why this is not possible. In large teams there should be no scouting or reconnaissance by non-core team members during the race.
- Only species listed in Categories I or II of the most recently published List of Hong Kong Birds will be considered by the Adjudicator. In addition, the following conditions apply:
- Birds must be unrestrained;
- Birds that are incapacitated or sick, or any that show obvious signs of having been released From captivity do not count;
- All species must be recorded in the territory of Hong Kong;
- Only identifications beyond reasonable doubt should be submitted;
- Attracting birds with recordings of vocalisations or bait is prohibited.
- Each team should report to the Adjudicator immediately on finishing the Race. A period of 30 minutes after the official finish time is allowed for teams to check the accuracy of e-logbooks, but no species can be recorded during this time. Once the e-logbook is completed in full, it should be for checking and result compilation. Team captains should check the totals for number of species recorded by their team, nominate both “Bird of the Day” and “Dip of the Day”. No amendment to the e-logbook will be permitted after submission at 6:30pm. Team captains should try to remain available to answer any queries the Adjudicator may have.
- Teams may start the Race anywhere in HK at 6:00am. The Race will finish at 6:00pm at Island House Conseration Studies Centre. Team must submit their e-logbook to the Adjudicator no later than 6:30pm.
- For every one minute late, five minutes will be counted back and any bird species recorded in that period will be deleted. However, delays beyond the control of the teams will be discounted e.g. roads blocked because of an accident. Team captains are encouraged to get a message to the Adjudicator should this be the case.
- Only areas that are statutorily accessible to all teams and their vehicles should be entered. Teams should remain entirely on foot in Mai Po Nature Reserve and on roads for which a vehicle permit is required (unless a permit has been arranged for all teams). The track between gei wai 16/17 and 14 at Mai Po Nature Reserve are strictly out of bounds to all teams.
- The Adjudicator will critically examine records of difficult-to-identify or unusual species. Team captains should be aware of which species might require verbal or other substantiation. Generally, this requirement would apply to scarce or rare species previously unrecorded in the current winter and other species or age classes for which identification may be difficult (e.g. immature gulls).
- The provisional Race results will be announced during the Award Dinner. These results may be amended by the Adjudicator. Final results will be issued later. Team captains or their proxies must be available to answer queries by telephone or e-mail at least 3 days after the Race.
- Known breeding or roost sites, or large concentrations of foraging/loafing birds must not be approached to the point where undue disturbance is caused. On no account should birds be deliberately flushed.
- Information during the Race from non-participating birdwatchers regarding bird species should not be acted upon, unless the information is freely available to all teams.
- If over-crowding occurs in the hides, teams should select two members to sit and two to stand, so as to free up space; this is especially so in the boardwalk hides.
- Teams not complying with these requirements, and for which no alternative penalty is specified, will be placed last in the Race, irrespective of the number of birds recorded, but their totals will still count for the purposes of sponsorship. Any dispute will be referred to the Adjudicator whose decision will be final.
Adverse Weather Arrangements
WWF reserves the right to cancel the event if: