Bird-a-thon Goals, Rules, & Regulations

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Goals for "Bird-at-home-a-thon" 2020

  • To raise funds for Mass Audubon and its network of wildlife sanctuaries to support our work in nature conservation, environmental education, and addressing climate change.
  • To work collectively as a whole state to count as many bird species as possible and grow our appreciation for the number and kinds of birds that fly right outside our windows.
  • To invite more people into the community of birders and nature heroes. Experienced birders, novices, and whole families can bird and enjoy nature found right outside their homes.
  • To keep everyone safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • To reduce our carbon footprint by staying close to home and mitigating climate change for the benefit of people and all wildlife.
Applicable to Individuals

By signing up to participate in Bird-a-thon, all participants have certified that they understand and accept the rules and regulations described on this page.

Applicable to Teams

In order for teams to be eligible for any Bird-a-thon awards, all team members must adhere to the official event rules and regulations described on this page.


Fundraising Guidelines

  • Join a team at massaudubon.org/birdathon and register to create a fundraising page.
  • Ask your friends, family, and neighbors to contribute to your fundraising page online or mail in a check. No gift is too small! Every contribution makes a difference in Mass Audubon's work to protect the nature of Massachusetts for people and for wildlife.
  • When you hit any of these fundraising goals, you'll receive a prize!
    • Feathered Friends, those who raise $100 or more, receive a Bird-a-thon t-shirt (will be distributed after Bird-a-thon ends).
    • High Flyers, those who raise $500 or more, are invited to a special bird outing with a member of the Mass Audubon leadership team. The outings will be scheduled after the stay-at-home advisory is lifted.

Birding Rules

  • Join a team by visiting massaudubon.org/birdathon.
  • On Friday, May 15, pick your birding spots—your window, backyard, or a green space within walking or biking distance of where you live.
  • For 24 hours—starting 6:00 pm on Friday, May 15 through 6:00 pm on Saturday, May 16—spend as much or as little time as you want birding your spots.
    • You may bird solo or with anyone from your household.
    • Use your Official Species Checklist (provided by your Team Captain) to check off all the bird species you spot.
  • Out-of-state team members are allowed to participate, but their species will not count towards our Massachusetts statewide species total.

Birding Conduct & Etiquette

  1. Use of drones, airplanes, helicopters, or hang gliders is prohibited.
  2. Refrain from using pre-recorded tape recordings or taped playback to attract birds during the Bird-a-thon event.
  3. Avoid going off trails or "bushwhacking" in easily impacted wetland or field habitat.
  4. Avoid approaching too close to obviously active nests.
  5. Minimize your impact on the environment by only birding at sites within walking distance of your home.
  6. Observe the Birding Code of Ethics at all times.

Rare or Sensitive Breeding Species

Spring is a sensitive and critical period in the annual cycle of many bird species, particularly those that are breeding. Please avoid birding behavior that might unduly disturb the nesting activities of rare or sensitive breeding species.


Earning & Reporting Points

After the 24-hour period concludes, send your Team Captain a list of the bird species you saw along with what additional activities you completed to earn points. (Specific reporting instructions will be given closer to the event.)

Birding Points

  • Each unique bird species a team member sees earns one point for the team.
  • If you are an out-of-state team member, only bird species found on our Official Species List count for team points. 

Note: Each species can only be reported once per team. For instance, if you see a robin but other team members also see a robin, your team only receives one point.

Activity Points

Each activity is worth one point. For families participating together, each family member can only earn one point for each activity regardless of how many times the family member completes the activity. You can:

  • Draw a picture of a bird (1 point)
  • Complete a bird word search, bird matching game, bird bingo, bird coloring page, and/or scavenger hunt worksheets provided by your Team Captain (1 point per worksheet)
  • "Like" your local Mass Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary and/or Mass Audubon on social media (1 point per like)
  • Fill up your birdfeeder only if your birdfeeder will not attract unwanted wildlife such as bears (1 point)
  • Send in a picture of one of the birds you see (1 point)
  • Spot a piece of bird art already in your home (1 point)
  • Make up a silly bird name…get creative! (1 point)

If you want to share a picture of your completed activity, we'd love to see it!

→ Post it on Mass Audubon's Facebook page
→ Share it on Instagram or Twitter by tagging @MassAudubon and including #mabirdathon in your post.
→ Upload it to our Bird-at-home-a-thon Digital Gallery—be sure to include your name in the filename so we know who to credit!


Prize Eligibility

  1. Meet All Deadlines: Team captain(s) must turn in the team's official roster, preliminary estimated fundraising total, and final fundraising estimate to the Bird-a-thon Coordinator by the stated deadline(s).
  2. One Team Per Participant: An individual cannot bird for more than one Bird-a-thon team.
  3. Use the Official Species Checklist: The Mass Audubon Bird-a-thon Checklist is the official Bird-a-thon checklist. Birds included in this checklist will count towards a team's total. Any additional or exceptional bird sightings must be confirmed by the Bird-a-thon's birding judge in order to be counted. For birds marked with an asterisk on the checklist, teams must submit the name, phone, and email address of the birder who saw the bird.
  4. Eligible Time Period: All species and activities counted or completed must be recorded during the official 24-hour period of the Mass Audubon Bird-a-thon.
  5. Submission of Final Species & Activities Lists: Each team must submit its final species list and activities list via the official reporting method. More information will be given closer to the event.