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Birdathon – Join the fun on Saturday!

Ready for Birdathon 2020? Contact Pam Hunt and she’ll send you more details for how to participate, including links for uploading your bird list.

NH Audubon’s Birdathon is back – and with it a local and socially-distant twist! Basically, all you have to do is go birding locally and share your species list with us. Fundraising is optional, but highly encouraged and ever-important during this time of great need. There has never been a better chance to participate in Birdathon, and I bet you all have fewer conflicts this spring than ever before!

Though we’re highlighting the importance of local birding, there are still lots of ways to participate – birding within your own backyard, birding under only your own power (human-powered), birding on a local NH Audubon wildlife sanctuary or conservation property, or birding within a five-mile radius of your home.

Forming a team and figuring out where to go birding is as simple as ever, thanks to social distancing and staying local guidelines. Go solo, with your family, or with a partner. If you’re looking for some ideas about spring birding in NH, tips on finding more birds in your own backyard (or within 5 miles of your home), and other resources, check out the ‘Birding Locally’ article by Becky Suomala.

Yellow-rumped Warbler by Phil Brown.

I’m sharing my own Birdathon plan in the hopes it may inspire others to get outside and appreciate birds on May 9th:

  • As in some past years, I’ve decided that my Birdathon day will be human-powered (by bike and foot) and that I’ll stay fully within the boundaries of my town, Hancock. In addition, I’ve taken an interest in the 5-mile radius (5 MR) challenge recently, an effort to see how many species one can find within five miles of one’s home or another location. I’m further going to restrict myself to a 2.5-mile radius of my home because there are several excellent habitats that I’d like to spend a fair bit of time in.

  • Of course, I have a goal: along with my personal fundraising goals, my lofty birding goal will be to find 100 species of birds over the course of the day on May 9!

  • One benefit of birding close to home, including one’s backyard, is that you probably know the terrain and its birdlife better than elsewhere. The past month at home has allowed me to track down several local breeding birds, and I’m counting on good migration conditions and a little bit of luck in order to make up the difference.

Who’s going to join me in the 5 MR challenge? Or maybe compile a backyard bird list for the day? Or a species list from a favorite local hike? Any of these would be great ways to participate!

Stay well and enjoy spring birding!
Phil Brown

For the “challenge” part of Birdathon, Pam Hunt contributes this:

“For those of you WITH something of a competitive streak, a couple of options have opened up! As Phil Brown mentioned, he’s doing a human-powered five-mile-radius Birdathon in Hancock and hopes to reach 100 species. Am I willing to let this relative newbie to HB5MR birding take all the glory? You bet I’m not, so Phil and I have agreed to a friendly wager: Hancock vs. Concord. Anyone else want to join the fray?
“Even if that sort of one-on-one competition is not your style, the other day I heard from a colleague at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. THEY’RE doing a stay-at-home Birdathon very much like ours, but two weeks later, and we’ve agreed to see which state can accumulate the most species on its respective day. They have two huge advantages: a later date and a more established core of Birdathon participants, but WE have a coast (even if it’s largely inaccessible at the moment). To really show those folks in “upside down NH” their place, we need all the eyes and ears we can get! Will you help us? I certainly hope so!”

Ready for Birdathon 2020? Contact Pam Hunt and she’ll send you more details for how to participate, including links for uploading your bird list.

Now, more than ever, the natural world is a source of comfort, healing, and strength. As you join us in celebrating Birdathon 2020, we ask you to think back on a time when seeing a particular bird or just being outside made your life a little better. If you’re feeling grateful during Birdathon, please consider making a gift to support NH Audubon, and consider reaching out to friends and family for donations. We make it easy to donate online, and will make it equally easy for participants to submit their sightings.

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Founded in 1914, NH Audubon’s mission is to protect New Hampshire’s natural environment for wildlife and for people. It is an independent statewide membership organization with four nature centers throughout the state. Expert educators give programs to children, families, and adults at centers and in schools. Staff biologists and volunteers conduct bird conservation efforts such as the Peregrine Falcon restoration. NH Audubon protects thousands of acres of wildlife habitat and is a voice for sound public policy on environmental issues. For information on NH Audubon, including membership, volunteering, programs, sanctuaries, and publications, call 224-9909, or visit www.nhaudubon.org.