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.”
Mass Audubon protects more than 38,000 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's 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 135,000 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 www.massaudubon.org.