Every spring since 1989, bird lovers in Berrien County, Michigan (directly across the lake from Chicago), have taken part in a grueling competition to see which team can track down the largest number of species within a nineteen-hour time span. Teams kick off at midnight and go all out until 7 p.m.; they need only stay within the county limits. And because the event is held at the height of spring migration, there are literally hundreds of different birds to tally on the official checklist.
Team Long Haul followed two of the 24 teams who took part in the 2006 event. One team – the Newsworthy Naturalists – was made up veteran birders who won the previous year’s Birdathon. The other – Hairy, Two Downies and a Red Head – included younger, less experienced members. The results are definitely not for the birds.