Year 1, Issue 12


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* The unofficial electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy


*         Editors: Allison Wells, Jeff Wells

*         Chauffeur: Jeff Wells



As promised, your last Cupful of 1996 David Cup news is later than ever--and

bubbling with the biggest, most delicious reason we forewarned of its

tardiness: It's the special Year-End Issue!  Who won the David Cup?  Who won

the McIlroy Award?  And more importantly, which famous actor will play Scott

Mardis in "Bird Hard: the David Cup movie"?


Like all special issues of famous and critically acclaimed publications,

we've changed our format for The Cup 1.12.  The usual suspects--News, Cues

and  Blues; Basin Bird Highlights; Casey's Call; Coach's Corner, even Dear

Tick--are  imprisoned until the next issue, which will be out in early (ha,

ha) February, boasting the first 1997 David Cup and McIlroy Kickin' Tail

leaders.  But for now, there's nothing keeping you from savoring the final

standings in the award categories, sampling tasty statistical hors

d'oeuvres, and devouring robust reports of the 1st Annual Cupper Supper.


So enjoy this last issue of The Cup 1996, but sip, don't gulp.  Contents are




!              BASIN BIRD YEAR-END HIGHLIGHTS               !



The first-ever David Cup started off with a bang--or rather, quick,

high-pitched trills--as Bohemian Waxwings descended upon the Basin and

delighted all but a few Cuppers (those who happened to have really bad luck

in their repeated cold- weather treks to Mt. Pleasant.)  Ralph Paonessa put

Ross' Goose on the 1996 map thanks to his affinity for winter corn fields.

Ralph's patience in scanning trillions of Canada Geese translated gleefully

to the Basin's second record ever for the species.  Tom Nix's honing

instincts for cute, cuddly owls led him--and soon after, many other

Cuppers--to a little patch of evergreens up the lake in Canoga.  The sight,

a Northern Saw-whet Owl perched asleep or gazing inquisitively back at those

who stared in awe, was almost too good to be true! On the other hand, Hoary

Redpoll proved a phantom bird to those of us who repeatedly, unsuccessfully

staked out Laura Stenzler's yard (thanks, Laura!) hoping to see this rarity.

It graced the presence of only a lucky few Cuppers, one of which happened to

be our David Cup winner; another, the DC runner-up. But any Cupper worth

his/her road salt made it over to Dodge Road for Chris Hymes' "pet" Red

Crossbills, a species that graces the Basin only every few years or so. This

past winter was especially good for Evening Grosbeaks, most of which seemed

tethered to Diane Tessaglia's Box Elder trees in Etna.  Spring continued to

rain good birds on the Basin.  With so many beautiful Bonaparte's Gulls

flashing up Cayuga Lake, it was just a matter of time before a Little Gull

made an appearance.  And voila!  After a Long Point State Park morning, the

Father of the Madness himself showered us with the good news.  Fortunately,

other Cuppers also got to see this tiny larid in other parts of the lake.  A

dandy of a Laughing Gull also made an appearance (and likewise so did

uncountable Cuppers) at Myer's Point--while the Cupper-dominated Cornell Lab

of Ornithology's World Series of Birding Team, the Sapsuckers, was

charitably staking out birds in New Jersey for the Big Day.  (Fortunately

for them, another Laughing Gull appeared in the fall at Myer's Point, and a

record seven showed up at Stewart Park long after they should have been

anywhere from Cape May  to points south.)  Later in the spring season, Kevin

McGowan's crow work hatched his discovery of a Marbled Godwit at Newman Golf

Course.  For the many Cuppers who saw this, only the second Basin record,

the bird was definitely right on par!  Buff-breasted Sandpiper in good

numbers at Montezuma'a Mays Point corral was the highlight species of the

shorebird season, though the sheer numbers and variety of shorebirds that

season was also in favorable light.   Finally, the grand finale specialty of

the David Cup's maiden year was Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, located by

Steve Kelling at Allan Treman Park.  The bird was a lifer for many a Cupper

and Cupper should-be, and Steve was immortalized for his find. For a day or

two, anyway.


All in all, there were some pretty good finds during our first year in the

David Cup.  No, there were no Gyrfalcons, no Sedge Wrens, but we've got no

complaints. Besides, look what's already been found in 1997!  There's

the...oh.  That's another issue.



     #           THE NUMBERS GAME              #



           = +/-   Stat's All, Folks!  / # ~




-no Cupper reached the 100 mark until March?


-the Cup winner had seen 90% of the winning total (251 species) by the end

of May?


-there were six different leaders of the David Cup but only three leaders of

the McIlroy Award race?


-the lead changed nine times in the David Cup and three times in the



-the David Cup winner saw 96% of all species noted in the Basin this year?


-the winning McIlroy number represents 75% of all species noted in the Basin

this year?


-the cumulative list of species seen increased the most in May (72 new

species), with the second largest increase in April (47 new species)?


-48% of Cuppers observed 200 or more species in the Basin in 1996?


-91% of Cuppers observed 100 or more species in the Basin in 1996?


                 ? !  Statistical Lore ! ?


Nobody knows better than Cuppers that the numbers game would be a big zero

if it weren't for the Cuppers themselves, scouting and scoping, ticking and

tallying.  Cuppers, here's a few stats in your honor:


Number of Cuppers signed up for the David Cup by January 31:   25  

Number of Cuppers signed up for the David Cup by December 31:   37


Number of Cuppers signed up for McIlroy by January 31:  6

Number of Cuppers signed up for McIlroy by December 31: 22


Number of male Cuppers:  25

Number of female Cuppers: 12


Number of Cuppers who live out-of-Basin:  4

Number of Cuppers who live out-of-state: 3


Number of Cuppers aged 14 or under:  5


Number of Cuppers who work at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:  12


Number of non-human Cuppers: 1 (Mira "the Bird Dog" Springsteen)


Just in case those stats didn't give you the warm fuzzies, we've decided to

go ahead and run the following op-ed piece, fed-exed to us from the David

Cup Committee.  Usually hard-nosed and bullish, this piece shows the

Committee's soft, sensitive side, so we couldn't resist sharing it with the

general Cupping public.  Besides, they sent chocolate.


"To All Cuppers


Congratulations!  You are the elite among Basin birders. You realized (some

sooner than others) that it really doesn't matter what your final total is,

that just being in the David Cup is reward in itself.  By participating, you

have helped strengthen an already strong community of birding enthusiasts by

posting your sightings quickly (well, most of you) on Cayugabirds, sharing

insights on interesting bird behaviors, and, at the heart of it all, going

out birding and bringing others--family, friends, and new

acquaintances--with you. In all of you are the qualities of the world's best

athletes: you welcomed a challenge (how many birds can I see given my time

and geographic limitations?), remained committed throughout the race

(tallied up and sent your totals to The Cup every month--well, most of you)

and never expressed anything but good will (and lots of healthy,

good-natured teasing), even to those who were sprinting towards the finish

line ahead of you. Finally, the unbridled passion and enthusiasm you

demonstrated for your sport will be matched perhaps only by what you will

demonstrate in the year (and years) to come.  You deserve not only a trophy

(not to mention a Wells edition David Cup pencil) but also a medal of honor.

To those of you who've signed up for 1997, welcome.  Good luck to you all in

the 1997 David Cup and McIlroy Award competitions.



                                    o  THE  o     

                                  o  WINNERS'  o

                                   o  CIRCLE  o                       



The first year of the David Cup was perhaps the best juggling act ever.  It

was not only the longest juggling exhibition--12 months!--it was also the

most creative.  How does one see how many birds s/he can identify in the

Cayuga Lake Basin without letting the challenge interfere (too awfully much)

with job, school, family, and televised college basketball?  It's not easy,

and The Cup commends every Cupper for pressing on and never once complaining

(cough, cough) that some had it easier than others.  The fact is, you all

started and finished not because you dreamed of David Cup glory (well, in

MOST cases) but because you were having fun.


The Cup's monthly Pilgrims' Progress report was a reflection of this

juggling act, not only among the leaders--Tom Nix one month, Steve Kelling

the next, and later Kevin McGowan, Scott Mardis and others--but among

Cuppers all the way up and down the line.  It was a real circus.  So it's

only fair to assume that  the one sitting in the center of the Big Top is a

real clown, one who not only juggles well but who also can walk a tightrope,

swallow fiery daggers, and swing, twist and twirl from great heights hanging

on by his teeth!  Without further ado, we present  to you the 1996 David Cup

winner, the Father of the Madness himself...                 


                     :< )       KARL DAVID     ( >:


                           with a grand total of




                          Cayuga Lake Basin birds!


Congratulations, Karl, on an excellent year!  Karl gave such a thoughtful

and inspiring speech (let's just say he nearly brought his beloved Elaine to

tears...) at the Cupper Supper that we've reprinted it here:


"This is like the Congressional Record...there need be no correlation

between what I actually said and what appears in print. I can rewrite

history! In particular, this time I can remember to thank M.B.E...


"I humbly accept this token of your esteem [glug-glug] in

recognition of winning the David Cup competition. You'll be

interested to hear that, now that I've been identified as the Jack

Nicholson of Basin birding, I will shortly be flying out to Hollywood

to star in the upcoming movie,  Two-hundred-fifty-one Easy Pieces.'

As Bard Prentiss said in the Cayuga Bird Club newsletter, this has

probably been the least competitive competition any of us have ever

been in. It really didn't matter who won [hisses, derisive catcalls

in background]. I felt my part was the same as everyone else's: to

push each other and see just how high we could go. We didn't quite reach

the magical 254 of Brinkley/Byrne, but we did well, and I'm left with a

great feeling of satisfaction at our collective accomplishment. And

of course ... how could I forget ... I couldn't have done it all if

it hadn't been for that wonderful, understanding, forgiving,

accepting-what-she-cannot-alter lifelong partner ... My Beloved Elaine!"


                                                        --Karl David


THE TROPHY, DESCRIBED:   A block of wood, with the look and texture of a

lovingly sanded and lacquered slab of tree trunk, with a round "cup" sunk in

the center.  In short, ehem, attractive, artistic and practical, too.  The

winner's name, date and total will be engraved.  (Trophy courtesy Steve



And now, the final tallies for the rest of the Cupper clan:


250 Steve Kelling

249 Allison Wells

245 Ken Rosenberg

244 Jeff Wells

241 Kevin McGowan

241 Tom Nix

240 Bard Prentiss

237 Scott Mardis

231 Ralph Paonessa

224 Jay McGowan

221.5 Bill Evans

216 Meena Haribal

213 Chris Hymes

204 Casey Sutton

198  Anne James

193 John Bower

177 Martha Fischer

175 Kurt Fox

174 Michael Runge

173 Larry Springsteen

170 Rob Scott

154 Diane Tessaglia

145 Matt Medler

141 Dan Scheiman

125 Jim Lowe

118 Tom Lathrop

112 Mira "the Bird Dog" Springsteen

 82 Sarah Childs

 71 James Barry

 67 Cathy Heidenreich

 50 Justin Childs

 40 Margaret Lanius


The David Cup isn't the only powerhouse birding competition open to birders

living anywhere in the greater North America and beyond.  The McIlroy Award

was just as cut-throat, just as down and dirty as the David Cup.  More so,

really.  So much so in fact that not all David Cuppers had the guts to go

for McIlroy gold.  Winning--placing among the top 21, even--required intense

concentration and unshakable courage.  No wonder a woman swept the

competition! Although several made last-ditch efforts to try to overturn her

reign as McIlroy Royalty for the last nine months, the best they could do

was save a little face.  Alas, the 1996 McIlroy Award goes to



                       ^ ^     ALLISON WELLS   ^ ^

                        V          for          V


                               McIlroy Birds!


We're reprinting here Allison's speech from the Cupper Supper, as an example

of ah, um, just how generous Cuppers can be:


"It is a great honor to be named the first recipient of the McIlroy Award.

The contributions of Dorothy McIlroy, Ithaca's First Lady of Birding, are,

I'm sure, appreciated by everyone here tonight, and it is a privilege to be

named the first winner of the award named in her honor.


"However, given the serious, soul-searching tone of tonight's Cupper Supper,

I am reminded of award ceremonies not unlike ours.  For example, I believe

it was sometime during the '60's when actor George C. Scott refused his Best

Actor Oscar in order to protest the Vietnam War.  Last year, country music

giant Garth Brooks passed along his Artist of the Year Award to Hootie and

the Blowfish for  keeping American music alive.'  And only recently, Julie

Andrews rejected her Tony Award nomination for  Victor/Victoria? because no

one else in her outstanding production team was nominated.


"Likewise, I too must refuse my award.  True, I spent a lot of time birding

in the Ithaca area.  But I also had some pretty nice McIlroy birds land in

my lap--birds like Worm-eating Warbler, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Bald Eagle.

In all honesty, I didn't work as hard as I should have, and for that reason,

I'm passing my McIlroy trophy on to Ken Rosenberg, because he really spent a

lot of time scouring McIlroy grounds and--no, wait, now that I think of it

he did most of his McIlroy birding from his Lab of O trailer window.  In

that case, I'm giving it instead to Kevin McGowan.  I'll never forget how

envious I was of Kevin's McForster's Tern.  He really deserves this

award--what?  He only came in at 185?  Oh.  Well, then, I'm proudly passing

my McIlroy statue to none other than Bill Evans.  Bill virtually camped out

at the lighthouse jetty and got things like McUpland Sandpiper, a McJaegar

species.  Bill, for all those early mornings, here's to you!  What?  He

almost skipped the Cupper Supper to go to Florida? Well, then I'm giving it

to my dear husband Jeff Wells.  Oops--stalled at 182.  I'll give it Karl

David--hmm, 168.  And Steve Kelling didn't enter the McIlroy race at all!

In that case, I guess I'll keep the McIlroy Award for myself.  I'm not

worthy of it, but I'm less unworthy than the rest of you!"


THE TROPHY, DESCRIBED: A flashy white though obviously old high-top leather

sneaker, reminding everyone that the McIlroy competition can theoretically

be won sans car.  The sneaker was signed and dated by our McIlroy champion,

the number "200" also penned in. (Trophy courtesy Jeff Wells.)


Here's how the rest of the McTotals tallied up:


185 Kevin McGowan

184.5 Bill Evans

182 Jeff Wells

180 Ken Rosenberg

171 John Bower

168 Karl David

159 Scott Mardis

158 Jay McGowan

153 Larry Springsteen

143 Martha Fischer

142 Tom Nix

134 Rob Scott

133 Casey Sutton

131 Chris Hymes

119 Michael Runge

113 Jim Lowe

 73 Matt Medler

 55 Diane Tessaglia

 53 Sarah Childs

 35 Justin Childs


                   ~             food          ~

                 fun     CUPPER SUPPER SUM-UP    fodder

                     ~         foolishness    ~


So we all expected the much-anticipated Cupper Supper and David Cup award

ceremony to be fun, but educational?  It's true!  For example, attendees

learned that 1) Cuppers cook as well as they bird 2) Cuppers are, for the

most part, pop- culture illiterate 3) the Wells's apartment can quite

comfortably accommodate 34 men, women and children--as long as you weren't

the one crouched on top of the refrigerator.


Don't worry, our Cupper Supper Sum-Up doesn't stop with these few

tantalizing tidbits.  No, no, we've been swamped with requests to spill the

soup, and despite the fact that none of these requests were accompanied by

chocolate petite fours, we're obliging, starting with...


           %      "BIRD HARD: the David Cup movie"     %

          / \                                         / \


What was the first thing Cuppers saw upon entering Jeff and Allison's

Birdland Bistro?  A steamin' blues band rocking the house?  Highly paid wait

staffers greeting them with trays ornamented with exquisite hor d'oeuvres?

Of course not! They saw themselves, in stop-action stills from "Bird Hard:

the David Cup Movie"! To try and describe the scenes here, well, let's just

say we'd never be able to recapture the magic, would we, Karl and Elaine?

But since so many of you asked--rather, DEMANDED--to know which actors were

playing which Cuppers in the movie...


Coming soon to a theatre near you, it's "Birdhard: the David Cup Movie,"



JACK NICHOLSON as Karl David      



RICHARD DREYFUS as Ken Rosenberg


TIM ALLEN as Tom Nix

HARRISON FORD as Kevin McGowan

GENE HACKMAN as Bard "Packin' Iron" Prentiss

BRUCE WILLIS as Scott Mardis

TOM HANKS as Ralph Paonessa


HUGH GRANT as Bill Evans

GEENA DAVIS as Meena Haribal

JIM CAREY as Chris Hymes

SEAN RENFO as Casey Sutton



ELLEN DEGENRES as Martha Fischer


LIAM NEESON as Michael Runge

JERRY SEINFELD as Larry Springsteen


RENE RUSSO as Diane Tessaglia

BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD as James Barry and Matt Medler

MICHAEL J. FOX as Dan Scheiman



CLARE DANES as Sarah Childs

SANDRA BULLOCK as Cathy Heidenreich

BART SIMPSON as Justin Childs

SUSAN SARANDON as Margaret "in Mansfield" Lanius

SOME DOG (with a feather in its mouth) as Mira "the Bird Dog" Springsteen


(Special Guest Appearances by):


FAYE DUNAWAY as Beloved Elaine

TOM CRUISE as Ned Brinkley


BRAD PITT as Andy Farnsworth


(Soundtrack featuring The Byrds, The Eagles, Sheryl Crow, The Jayhawks,

Counting Crows, Charlie "Bird" Parker, The Yardbirds, and The Black Crows,

with special guest vocalist Frank Sinatra, singing "Luck Be A White-tailed

Nightjar Tonight")


                    """"                          % % %

                     ~ ~                        % ^  ^  %

                  c  @-@ CUPPERS' CHOICE AWARDS   *<*   %

                    ) >  )                       & U  &

                  _ _ O _ _                        )~(

                /   /  \    \                    ( ( \ \

               /   /    \    \                 / /)  / /

                   \    /                 



Admit it: you don't really give a hoot about who won The David Cup and

McIlroy Award, what you really want to know is WHO WON THE FIRST ANNUAL

CUPPERS' CHOICE AWARDS!  Amazingly, most if not all of you got votes--of

course, most if not all of you voted for yourself in some of the categories

(particularly for the Strike-Out Award, and Sarah Childs, whoops, we mean

some Cupper voted for her/himself for Best Dressed three times!)


Clearly, though, not only were you all worrying about whether or not you'd

win (or, in some categories, hoping you'd lose), you were also obviously

biting your nails in a furious attempt to out-wit each other with your

responses to the voting ballot. So good, in fact, were many of your replies

that in printing our list of category winners, we find ourselves unable to

resist running (anonymously--this is a democracy, after all) some winners of

a different sort...


QUICK DRAW AWARD (to Cupper with fastest Cayugabirds postings):


"Ken Rosenberg. How could anyone else win? He birds from his desk.

Sightings reach the Internet in real-time."


"Jeff and/or Allison Wells, can't tell them apart through e-mail."


"Martha Fischer and Rob Scott, for posting everyone else's sightings."


Winner: Karl David

Trophy: Miniature cap gun--(GET IT? Quick "DRAW"?)


SLOW GIN PRIZE (slowest to post):


"My cousin Justin, Temporary Cupper in Maine.  He has email but does he ever

post anything???"


"The one who reported the Anhinga several YEARS too late."


Winner: Kevin McGowan (via blame for posting the long, lost Anhinga-- that

he didn't even see!)

Trophy: Post-It Notes ('nough said)


STRIKE-OUT AWARD (who tried and failed for the most birds):


"Jeff Wells would have gotten my vote for Barred Owl--if he'd tried for it!"


"Karl for his Surf Scoter, Not!"


"Bard Prentiss.  I don't know what I would do without Bard to

commiserate with."


"I am probably just a duffer in this category, and may not even be eligible

since I didn't sign up, but here's my track record:


    Short-eared Owl, 3 trips.  Nope.

    Bohemian Waxwing, 4 trips.  Nope.

    Ross' Goose, 2 long trips.  Nope.

    Red Crossbills, 4 trips.  Nope.  Nor the western Red-tailed Hawk nearby.

    Eurasian Wigeon, 1 long trip.  Nope.

    Screech Owl: 4 listening trips.  Nope."


Winner: Karl David

Trophy: A book of matches (he needs as many strikes as he can get)


BEST DRESSED (not most appropriate for the weather, but who looked



"Rob Scott, but only when he's wearing his sapsucker costume."


"Hey, what about worst dressed? I always try for that one. That way, given

a crowded viewing platform, nobody wants to stand next to the geekiest,

ugliest fellow there - me -which allows for ample viewing space."


"Anyone who wears their vintage David Cup T-shirt."


"Actually, I can't think of any sharp dressers in this crowd."



"Bill Evans in those big red overalls.  Witness how closely his shade of red

matched the red of the jetty lighthouse where he spent most of the fall.

Bill, in those overalls, was stiff competition for the lighthouse itself -

you could see him from many miles away.  In fact, he should get the David

Cup Boating Safety Award.  I am sure that he saved many a boater from ruin

on the lighthouse jetty on those foggy fall mornings.  Bill was so

conspicuous that I easily spotted him on the jetty as I drove up the Rt. 13

hill bound for work in the mornings.  As often as not, he was still there in

the evening as I drove down the hill from work.  Even from that distance, I

could see how his eyes were always scanning above the clouds, or into the

fog, for those rarities he kept hauling in.  Such

dedication!  Only when the lady's crew team happened to pass the jetty

would Bill's binoculars abandon their skyward gaze for some close study of

the plumage characteristics of water-bound wildlife."


"Golden-winged Warbler - the birds are clearly more concerned about their

appearance than us birders are."


Winner: Ralph Paonessa

Trophy: A comb (because there's more to life than nice clothes)




"Is there even a contest for this one?"


Winner: Meena Haribal's peeing screech-owl got all votes!

Trophy: White-out pen (though it may not be quite as effective on the





"Ken Rosenberg.  Taking his family to Long Point park for a  picnic' in high

wind on a cold day when the only sensible thing to do was look for, say, a

migrating Whimbrel."


"Sarah Childs, for letting her cousin Justin tag along with her for McIlroy

birds in Sapsucker Woods."


"Jeff and Allison Wells - not only do they bird together a tremendous

amount of time but by including Casey as much as they have, they have

extended the bounds of family beyond its traditional definition."


"Ken, luring his family to Long Point at dawn to pick off Whimbrel."


Winner: Ken Rosenberg

Trophy: Family Time playing cards (to give them all something do on the off

chance that they're not out birding together)


THOREAU AWARD (for the Cupper with the most distinguished postings):


"The really literary types, like Caissa Willmer, weren't Cuppers. So I'll

vote for Bard, simply for his  Bird hard' motto (actually more

Hemingway-like than Thoreau)."


"Caissa Willmer--a cross between Thoreau and Dickinson."


"Probably the barking duck himself, Ralph P. - creative and humorous.

For artistic, Caissa certainly has some artsy-fartsy postings."


"Ralph Paonessa - Haiku master, hmmpf!


Winner: Bard Prentiss

Trophy: Miniature writing tablet (for whenever the muse takes over)


TREKIE AWARD (most number of miles Cupped):


"Karl da David, though I suppose he should be disqualified for combining

commuting miles with birding miles."


"Ralph. If it weren't for Ralph, I'd probably rank close to tops.  Karl must

burn some gas too."


"Ralph, just for getting TO the Basin."


Winner: Ralph Paonessa

Trophy: Car air freshener (when you spend THAT much time in your car...)


HOMEBODY PRIZE (least number of miles Cupped):


"Well over half my birds were seen while walking my dog at my house!"


Winner: Ken Rosenberg

Trophy: A plant pot (because he's planted in one place)


UNDYING PATIENCE PRIZE (to Cupper who spent most time answering questions on



"Kevin McGowan, who answers all questions gracefully and at a level that all

readers can learn from."


"Karl David.  Often, his questions show more insight than other people's



"Kevin McGowan is quite often the ONLY one to answer my questions."


"Dear Tick!"


Winner: Kevin McGowan

Trophy: Pack of chewing gum (long-lasting and flavorful)




"Ralph Paonessa - his energy is boundless."


"Without THE CUP, enthusiasm may have not been maintained at such a fevered



"George and Gracie, otherwise known as Jeff and Allison, Editors of The



Winner: Editors of The Cup (aw, shucks!)

Trophy: Microwave popcorn (because the cheering section at sporting events

is  always eating--and throwing--popcorn)




"Tom Nix.  He's probably half way there already!"


"I predict a runoff between Karl and Steve again.  They have demonstrated

more fire (or was it firewater?) in the belly than the rest of us."


Winner: Stephen Davies (new 1997 Cupper!)

Trophy: Crazy straw (because the road is long and winding--yellow, the color

of hope???)




"If my dog Tucker can just turn up a few more goodies!!!!"


"Not John Bower."


"Allison Wells - almost certain. The real question is, will she take the

David Cup as well?"


"Bill Evans.  He's like a wounded animal."


"All others would go down the drain if Casey Sutton had a car."


Winner: Bill Evans

Trophy: Crazy straw (as above, only his is blue.  Blue goes nicely with red

[see quote under Best Dressed...])


                    /       EDITORS' CHOICE AWARDS     \


Since the editors of The Cup successfully bribed enough voters to win one of

the Cuppers' Choice Awards categories, we were catapulted into a fit of

generosity.  We gave out our own awards to those who made our lives a

little--no, a lot-- easier by offer writing up their expert advice for the

Coach's Corner.  To all Coaches, we awarded Lifesavers, because to most

Cuppers, that's what the Coaches were.  Please stand again when your name is



Kevin McGowan, Ned Brinkley (his Lifesavers are in safe keeping until he

moves back to the Basin), Jeff Wells, Steve Kelling, Ken Rosenberg, Karl

David, Tom Nix, Bill Evans, and Andy Farnsworth.


There were also those who took the time to write columns every (cough,

cough) month, thereby giving a level of respectability to an otherwise

scandalous publication.


The Basin Bird Highlights column was the perfect vehicle for Steve Kelling,

a place for him to showcase his encyclopedic knowledge of not only what had

been seen in the Basin the last month but also for the last few hundred

centuries.  More often than not, Steve came through for us, and we again

thank him.  Although he left it at our place after the Cupper Supper, we

were particularly proud of the map of the night sky we gave him as an award,

to encourage him in a new area of birding.


To Casey Sutton, who came through MOST of the time with his vastly popular

Casey's Call, we awarded a can of Pringles BBQ Chips.  Perhaps half of the

birding money we spent on food at the Express Mart in Union Springs was in

answer to that twelve-year-old voice echoing through our car, "If you get

chips, get Pringles!"  A small investment for Casey's willingness to

enlighten Cup readers about the natural history facts associated with the

birds he features in his column.  On behalf of all Cup readers, thanks,



Finally, who, tell us, who could overlook the contributions of our fearless

advice columnist, Dear Tick.  Everyone at the Cupper Supper held their

breath when we announced Dear Tick's Award (Tic Tacs, because Tick could

sometimes use more tac-t) as much in anticipation of discovering who this

mystery columnist is as perhaps in fear of Dear Tick's retribution for the

"tac-y" trophy.  But alas, the closest Cuppers got to meeting their hero was

this note, which came over our fax machine just as we were bestowing the Tic



"My Dear Cuppers--


Sorry, but I won't be able to make it to the 1st Annual Potluck Cupper

Supper.  I know this is short notice, but my consulting services have

whisked me off to South America to settle the long-standing border dispute

between Ecuador and Peru.  (I'm sure that after I've made my ruling, heads

will not only roll but will end up dried and stuck on the tops of large

spears.) After a year of doling out my advice free of charge (except to

Serious Competitor and Son, and Philosophical in Sapsucker Woods--I'm still

waiting for your checks) I was looking forward to signing autographs for

you, and to shaming you all face to face, particularly that Aurora Cupper

who's tried ruthlessly all year to pun his or her way to victory.  Pitiful,

really.  I hope you at least placed in the David Cup top ten. And you,

Sleepy in Ithaca, I'd been anticipating setting you straight on this whole

bird dream hang up of yours once and for all, though I've since been

brushing up on my dream analysis, and your dreams, well, let's just say it's

going to take a lot more than a chit-chat at some potluck supper to get you

safely in line.


Now, to prove to you all that being shunned by Dateline NBC for that goody-

goody advice columnist Dear Abby has not shaken my faith in a system that

rewards the worthy, I am bestowing my own award, the Dear Tick Trophy for

the Most Creative Question (a.k.a., Most Desperate Cupper award).  Sorry

that I can only give out one trophy, since you all deserve that kind of

recognition.  Maybe next year, my book contract will come through and I'll

be able to afford to buy you each a little reminder of your pathetic



Till then, I hereby bestow The Most Creative Dear Tick Question Award to:




who's question to me was


 Dear Tick, I lost my year list.  Can I still play?'


For those of you who don't remember, here's my response:


 Of course you can still play.  What difference does a list make?  As I

understand it, the three leading Cup totals are merely best guesses, based

more on what the beholders felt they deserved rather than on what they

actually saw.  If you're so disorganized to have lost your list, chances are

it's because you're spending most of your time birding.  Go ahead, give it

your best guess.  And don't forget to include those rarities you were

entitled to but somehow missed.'


It's not beneath me to congratulate you all on a fine, fun-filled David

Cup/McIlroy year, and for having the good sense to include me as part of it.

I look forward to entertaining your questions throughout the 1997 year--that

is, unless it's my head down there on the Ecuadorian/Peruvian line!




Dear Tick"


Dear Tick wasn't the only one who posted regrets.  Ralph Paonessa's "sorry I

can't be there" was so Ralph-like that it was as though he were right there

in the Birdland Bistro with us.  His post was available for perusal in the

100 and 200 Clubs (which were admissible by others upon permission of a

Clubber), but just in case you didn't get that far, we're reprinting it



"Greetings from Texas!


"This note comes to you from the great state of Texas!  I would like to

say a few things of relevance to the David Cuppers as the Cupper Supper

approaches. Some of you may recall my alleged sighting of a Ruff at MNWR

this past fall.  Despite my heartfelt conviction, after days of research and


night of channeling during which I spoke with Arthur Allen, that the

bird I saw indeed was a Ruff, I have noticed a certain ... shall I say,

skepticism.  For instance, on a fine evening of jovial discussions after

counting shorebirds at May's Point with some birders whose opinions I

regard highly, I interjected,  So, do you believe my Ruff sighting last



"The silence descended like a sudden curtain at the end of a play cut

short.  People gazed out at the mudflats, as if to not make eye contact

with me, and then drifted away.  Someone, in passing, put a comforting

hand on my shoulder, then walked on.  Far away in the marsh, a Golden

Plover whistled a plaintive call. It is at times like these that a man must

look outside himself for comfort.  Near the car, someone's dog was wandering

about.  Needing the companionship of man's best friend, I extended my hand

to pet him.  He growled,  Grrrrrrrrrrrrreater Yellowlegs!' and then he

trotted away.


"So, because of the tentative nature of this sighting, and the fact that

it COULD have been a Greater Yellowlegs, or perhaps a small duck or an

old sneaker, I am hereby removing this tick from my total.  I am doing

this for two reasons: First, it's the right thing to do.  And second, it

has no actual effect on my standings in the competition.  Now I can

sleep at night.


"Next, I would like to say something else.  Some of you may know that Ken

Rosenberg and I had a friendly rivalry going over who would see more

birds.  For a while, I thought I might actually pull it off.  But

eventually, Ken's superior experience, talent, and office location won

out.  Congratulations, Ken.  I think I speak for all Cuppers when I say

that your dedication to sitting in your office and gazing out your

window is an inspiration to us all.  No hard feelings.  Really.


"Finally, the rumor that I am in Texas chasing a report of Rainbow-billed

Barking Duck is greatly exaggerated.  It IS true that I am in a hotel

with Marie Read, but when the full story comes out, I think people will



Fellow Cuppers, enjoy your Supper!


Ralph-Bob in Texas"


                          2  3  4  5

                 1   DAVID CUP TOP TEN LIST   6

                         7   8  9  10


Although all of you are by well aware of far more than ten very good reasons

to be in the David Cup, many of our readers have requested we reprint OUR

reasons.  Well, we're obliging, but you should know that our top ten list is

strictly based on yet another excuse to give someone a prize. Therefore, all

our reasons are pop-culture references.  Cuppers were encourage to name the

reference, and the whoever got the most references correct won a fabulous

Birdland Bistro prize.


#10)  Tastes great, less filling.   (Lite Beer from Miller)


 #9)  It's an "up" thing.   (7Up)


 #8)  Something special in the air.  (American Airlines)


 #7) You deserve a break today.  (McDonald's)


 #6)  It's the quicker picker-upper.  (Bounty paper towels)


 #5) You'll feel better inside.  (Hallmark--no kidding)


 #4)  Not too tart, not too sweet.  (Minute Maid orange juice)


 #3)  Image is nothing.  Thirst is everything.  (Sprite)


 #2) The truth is out there.   (X-Files!!!)


And the number one reason to be in the David Cup




Winner: Sue Kelling and her team of approximately half the guests

Prize: A Snapple, of course



          ^                                           ~

         ~ ~                                         / \

         x x                                         6 6

          ?     Highlights from the Supper That Was   ^

          V                                           U 


* Karl David guzzling Bill Evans' beer from the David Cup trophy.  Kinda

like drinking from a bird house, wouldn't you guess, Karl?


* Jay McGowan coolly walking off with Dear Tick's Tic Tacs, for proudly

wearing his David Cup T


* Diane Tessaglia's excellent "where do we put all this food?"

organizational skills


* finding out which Cupper gave an ornithology presentation wearing only a

birthday suit


* the plain M&M's in the 100 Club


* Ken Rosenberg snapping photos like a freelancer for Rolling Stone


* the peanut M&M's in the 200 Club


* the standing ovation we got from our guests--you all are too kind!


* the signing of the David Cup certificates by Father Karl


* Rachel Rosenberg (age 2)  nonchalantly walking from the kitchen to the

livingroom with a cupFULL of fruit punch, generously poured by Sam Kelling

(age 3).  Scarey, but so sweet!


* the wine list, which included Six Mile Creek's Ithaca White and Ithaca Red

(McIlroy wines), Knapp's Cardinal (Flower), and Wagner's Lighthouse Blues

(in a blue bottle, even).  Basin wines, all!


* DJ Kevin McGowan keepin' the blues cranking from the CD player


* the witty one-liners quipped by our guests ALL NIGHT!


* the group picture (2 half shots, cleverly arranged so that all

present--even the photographers--could get in the picture!)


* cutting of the David Cup cake.  So what if the Purple Finch and Green

Heron looked more like dinosaurs?


* the joy and good-humor that filled our apartment.  Thanks to you all for



Happy New Year!  See you in February!


May Your Cup Runneth Over,


Allison and Jeff