Organizing a Bird-a-thon Team
A Bird-a-thon (BAT) team can have up to 50 members. Team members must bird in groups of two or more. All team members are encouraged to raise money in addition to birding, and they should be encouraged to bring in at least $75, or at least 10 sponsors.
Incentive: All BAT team members who raise at least $75, or obtain 10 or more sponsors, will receive a BAT team member t-shirt. This is the official shirt of the Mass Audubon Bird-a-thon.
To attempt to win a species count prize, a good BAT team should be composed of:
- Reliable and enthusiastic birders who can quickly and correctly identify many species of birds.
- Birders who live in diverse locations, so that some members can be looking for shorebirds, while others search for upland birds. (For example, some team members might go to Joppa Flats while others go to Wachusett Meadow.)
By recruiting team members who live in diverse areas, the team can roundup a maximum number of species, while at the same time maintaining a low carbon footprint.
BAT teams that focus on species counts tend to strategize about where they will position their birders, and they often scout specific areas during the week before Bird-a-thon so that they know where certain species are most apt to be found. Many teams also consult Massbird.org in an effort to determine the location of unusual species near the time of BAT.
To attempt to win a fundraising prize, a competitive team should include:
- Members who can be counted on to ask their friends and other contacts for donations to support their effort, either with a pledge per species or with an outright gift.
- A team that is focused heavily on the fundraising aspect of Bird-a-thon is the ideal team for novice birders, especially if a few excellent birders are recruited to lead them and help them learn as they participate in Bird-a-thon.
- Enthusiastic Bird-a-thon teams can potentially bring in tens of thousands of dollars for their sanctuary.
To attempt to win the Important Bird Area (IBA) prize, the team should include:
Birders who are familiar with a particular IBA and its birds, and who are willing to commit to birding in one or more IBAs for the 24-hour Bird-a-thon period, finding as many species as possible in the IBAs that they are willing to cover.