Mass Audubon’s Annual 24-Hour Bird-a-thon Takes Wing May 16-17
Michael P. O'Connor
LINCOLN—Mass Audubon’s annual Bird-a-thon, a friendly fundraising competition to support conservation throughout the state, is again expected to inspire hundreds of dedicated enthusiasts in a 24-hour bird identification contest, May 16-17.
The statewide contest challenges teams of birders to see or hear the most species in 24 hours, this year from 6 pm on Friday evening, the 16th, to 5:59 pm on Saturday, the 17th.
Bird-a-thon has grown to become Mass Audubon’s single largest annual fundraising event, attracting thousands of supporters and raising more than $2 million since the competition began in 1983 with a mere handful of participants. Proceeds support the regional conservation leader’s network of wildlife sanctuaries and its programs across the Commonwealth.
In 2013, almost 800 birders competed on 30 teams that traversed the state, from the seashore to the Berkshires, through wetlands and deep into forests, in search of birds common and rare. Last year, 270 species were identified, either by sight or ear.
People who can’t compete in the field may still participate in various ways, including as “Bird-a-thon Boosters” to support teams or individuals by fundraising. Last year, hundreds of individuals participated by fundraising for their favorite sanctuary or program from the comfort of their own homes. Any way you participate, Bird-a-thon is fun!
In noting that the popular event is entering its fourth decade, Mass Audubon President Henry Tepper credited its longevity to the enduring passion for birds and nature that participants bring, no matter their level of birding experience.
“Bird-a-thon is a ‘must’ for birders of all abilities because it helps support our important work on behalf of birdlife and habitats,” Tepper said. “At the same time, it strengthens connections with the natural world and builds a sense of community among the competitors themselves.
“With so many reasons to participate,” he added, “we’re expecting a terrific turnout May 16 and 17.”
Mass Audubon is the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England. Founded in 1896 by two women who fought for the protection of birds, Mass Audubon carries on their legacy by focusing on the greatest challenges facing the environment today: the loss of biodiversity, inequitable access to nature, and climate change. With the help of our 140,000 members and supporters, we protect wildlife, conserve and restore resilient land, advocate for impactful environmental policies, offer nationally recognized education programs for adults and children, and provide endless opportunities to experience the outdoors at our wildlife sanctuaries. Explore, find inspiration, and take action at www.massaudubon.org.