Birdathon/Bloomathon a Great Success!

Posted on June 29, 2016

By Ruth Smith

On May 21, over 100 birders and wildflower enthusiasts participated in the annual Birdathon/Bloomathon to raise funds for NH Audubon. Participants ranged from small backyard teams of new birders to crazy statewide competitors and everything in between. This year proved that ANYONE can participate in this event, have fun and help our mission.

The fund raising goal was surpassed as donors contributed over $11,700 to our programs, centers and chapters. Donations ranged from $1 to $1000 coming from more than 200 individuals, many who were new donors to NH Audubon.

A few incentives were offered to encourage donations. One lucky donor will be staying at the Notchland Inn in Hart’s Location and six others will be enjoying a naturalist led tour of Newfound Lake. Thanks to The Notchland and Newfound Lake Region Association for making those gifts available.

The field teams collectively tallied 184 bird species and 121 different flowering plants. The most commonly seen birds were American Robin and Song Sparrow, but 17 conservation species including Brown Thrasher, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, and Whip-poor-will were also observed. The blooms also covered a great deal of diversity since we had teams counting from the North Country to the Seacoast and covering a wide range of habitats. Contact Ruth Smith if you are interested in seeing the complete list of flora and fauna.

Competition among teams is one part of the event and for some it is a strong motivating factor. Though staff members are not eligible to win prizes, bragging rights are open to all. Phil Brown, Director of Land Management, and his team certainly earned those bragging rights. They spent nearly 20 hours visiting 10 of NH Audubon’s sanctuaries to tally 148 species of birds and 34 wildflowers. Phil also raised over $2800.

The teams and individuals that won the awards included:

Big Day Award  – Dan Hubbard and his “Bird Brains” observed 108 bird species.

The Flower Power Award  – Mavis Brittelli and the “Hebron Cuckoos” tallied 66 blooms.

The Conservation Award – “Hebron Cuckoos” including Suzanne Smith and the birding crew, for the combined birds and blooms was 126.

The Big Green Award – Molly Sperduto raised the most money of any individual ($550).

The Human Powered Award – Rich Frechette and Scott Spangenberg, the “Peddlin’ Peregrines” biked 36 miles and tallied 102 bird species.

The Big Sit/Single Location Award was earned by Andrea and George Robbins, “Copps and Robbins” team with 79 birds all in one spot!

The Beginner Award – Christie Wrazen and the “Peace of Nature” team for first time participation engaging nearly as many donors and raising almost as much money as some of our top winners and veterans.

Thanks to Vortex Optics, Nikon and Blue Seal for providing prizes for these winners. We also appreciate the sponsorship provided by Foothills Physical Therapy of Concord.

In the end, NH Audubon was the biggest winner, so we thank everyone who participated and who contributed. We hope even more of you will join us next year for this very enjoyable day.