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 protects 36,500 acres of land throughout Massachusetts, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all. As Massachusetts’ largest nature conservation nonprofit, we welcome more than a half million visitors a year to our wildlife sanctuaries and 20 nature centers. From inspiring hilltop views to breathtaking coastal landscapes, serene woods, and working farms, we believe in protecting our state’s natural treasures for wildlife and for all people—a vision shared in 1896 by our founders, two extraordinary Boston women. Today, Mass Audubon is a nationally recognized environmental education leader, offering thousands of camp, school, and adult programs that get over 225,000 kids and adults outdoors every year. With more than 125,000 members and supporters, we advocate on Beacon Hill and beyond, and conduct conservation research to preserve the natural heritage of our beautiful state for today’s and future generations. We welcome you to explore a nearby sanctuary, find inspiration, and get involved. Learn how at massaudubon.org.