Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory


support your team!

PLATFORMERS - Anna Stunkel and the folks on the Hawkwatch platform count all the birds they can see from the platform

The Annual Kiptopeke Challenge

TEAM TURNSTONE - Ezra Staengl and Tucker Beamer

WANDERING WHIMBRELS - Brian Taber, Dave Youker, Lee Schuster, Bill Williams

LAUGHING FALCONS - Bob Ake, David Clark, Elisa Enders Flanders and Nick Flanders

SUBADULT SHOREBIRDS - Baxter Beamer, Max Nootbaar, Drew Chaney and Conor Farrell

MACHIPONGO SALT LARKS - ​Joanne and Bruce Lantz

GULLS GONE WILD - Shirley Devan, Barb Neis, Joyce Lowry, Jan Lockwood, Nancy Barnhart, Sue Mutell

2018's Kiptopeke Challenge was September 22!


24-hour - Laughing Falcons with 104

3-hour - Hampton Roads Bird Club with 55

Special Venue - Wandering Whimbrels with 93

Youth - Subadult Shorebirders with 96

The only category still outstanding is the most funds raised.  We'll leave this open for those still wanting to donate, and so that you have a chance to get back with your donors.  After all, this is the main purpose of the KC, and CVWO couldn't accomplish its mission without supporters like you and your donors.

The composite list with all birds seen by each team can be found here.

Thanks again to all team members for participating in the Challenge.

Dave Youker
KC Coordinator


Join the birding craze! Where else can you enjoy the beautiful outdoors, witness the majesty of migrating birds, and support an important conservation organization all at the same time. FIND GUIDELINES FOR YOUR TEAM TO JOIN HERE AND BELOW:

What is the Kiptopeke Challenge?

The Kiptopeke Challenge (KC) is a fun and friendly team birding competition, whereby teams compete to identify the greatest number of bird species in a single day. The primary goals of the KC are to raise funds for the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory (CVWO) and to raise awareness of fall bird migration on the Eastern Shore and along the coastal plain of Virginia. The KC takes place each year in late September, during peak migration, when birds sing little and many have molted their breeding plumages. Add in hatch-year birds, and you’ll understand why the event is called the Kiptopeke Challenge!

Who can participate?
The KC is open to anyone. Participants can form their own team or a single individual can request to be placed with an existing team. A team must consist of 2 or more people. Non-birding drivers are allowed. What are the categories?

The KC competition categories are:

· 24-Hour

· 3-Hour

· Youth (age 18 and under)

· Special Venue

 An example of a Special Venue is the Hawkwatch at Kiptopeke State Park. Is there an entrance fee? No. All teams, however, are encouraged to secure sponsors for donations, such as per species or flat-rate pledges from individuals, bird clubs and businesses. All funds raised are used to support CVWO’s field research and environmental education programs. Where is the count area? The geographic count area includes the land, rivers, ocean, and bay areas of the entire coastal plain of Virginia, including the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT). The coastal plain is defined as the area east of the Fall Zone or roughly the area east of Interstate 95.

Are there awards?
Yes! Bronze bird trophies are awarded in two categories: American Woodcock for the 24-Hour most species, and Piping Plover for the team that raised the most amount of money. The wooden Buffbreasted Sandpiper trophy is awarded for the Youth category.

Team Wild Birds Unlimited of Williamsburg (Brian Taber, and Dave Youker), the winners of the 2015 American Woodcock trophy. (Photo by Brian Taber) Each trophy is kept by the winning team until the following year’s competition. Additional awards and prizes are also given.

 What are the KC rules and ethics?

The following rules establish the basic standards and practices under which all KC team birding participants must comply. The rules are in fundamental accord with the Big Day Count rules established by the American Birding Association (ABA). Ethics for the KC follow those created by the ABA and refined by the Virginia Society of Ornithology (VSO). 1. All counting must be made within the prescribed area and within the 24-hour period of the count day. 2. Count only full species currently accepted by the ABA Checklist Committee. 3. Birds counted must be alive, wild and unrestrained when encountered. 4. Birds must be conclusively identified by sight or sound by at least two members of a team and 95% of the birds recorded must be identified by the entire team. 5. Any type of vehicle, except aircraft, may be used. 6. Team members must remain within voice (shouting) distance of each other while birding. 7. Electronic or recorded bird calls may not be used to attract birds into view or to entice them to vocalize during the event or while scouting prior to the event. 8. Spotlighting is prohibited. 9. Teams are expected to follow all laws and birding ethics. 10. All teams must have fun.

Who do I contact to get involved?

If you would like to form a team, be placed on an existing team, sponsor a team, donate prizes or just learn more, contact KC Coordinator, Dave Youker, at

Hawkwatch Platform Purchases

If you visit the Hawkwatch Platform at Kiptopeke and wish to purchases items there, you may use the button below to pay:


HAMPTON ROADS BIRD CLUB - Andy Hawkins and James Abbott