Bird-a-thon Stays Close to Home This Year
Michael P. O'Connor
LINCOLN, MA.—Mass Audubon’s Bird-a-thon, which typically sends teams of birders rambling throughout the Commonwealth in a friendly competition to identify the most species in 24-hour period, is staying at home this year, to respect social distancing.
So all systems are go for Bird-at-home-a-thon, taking place Friday-Saturday, May 15-16.
Mass Audubon’s biggest single fundraising event is again expected to attract hundreds of competitors of all abilities, but will be carbon-free, safety-focused, and family-oriented. Participants will select bird observation spots—a window, backyard, or a green space within short walking or biking distance from their homes.
From 6 pm on Friday, the 15th through 6 pm on the 16th, they’ll spend time observing and identifying species from their birding positions, solo or with other household members.
Competitors join teams representing different Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries and programs. Their pledges can be directed to specific wildlife sanctuaries and programs or to the overall organization, the state’s largest nature conservation nonprofit.
Participants can also earn points for their team by completing other fun, nature-based activities or as “Bird-a-thon Boosters,” who raise money while birding for fun (or not birding at all).
The popular bird identification marathon is scheduled to take place during the height of spring migration, when millions of birds are returning to Massachusetts to breed and raise young, or stopping to rest and feed in the Bay State before continuing north. During this opportune period, birders can observe species they typically do not see during the rest of the year.
Last year’s event raised $240,000 and recorded 273 species.
Mass Audubon Vice President for Philanthropy Nora Frank acknowledged that this year’s Bird-a-thon will be different, in response to COVID-19, “but we are confident that veteran competitors as well as newcomers will rise to the challenge.
“At this time of great uncertainty, Mass Audubon’s commitment to protecting nature for people and wildlife remains a constant,” Frank noted. “And that’s why we’re expecting a record number of participants May 15 and 16 who are inspired to raise money in support of our important work, while experiencing the special enjoyment of connecting with birdlife.”
Sponsors this year include Presenting Sponsors Ream Design of Ayer and Camosse Masonry Supply of Worcester and Media Sponsor, public radio station WBUR.
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 160,000 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.