The 17th annual PRAS birdathon was held March 31, 2018 and was a great success! The birdathon rules have changed over the years but two things remain the same: The participants have a great time and quite a bit of money is raised for PRAS and its beneficiaries. This year, two teams competed: Archaeopteryx (Cathy Olson, Gregg Klowden and Kevin Edwards) and The Birders (Dave Lancaster, Tony Licata, Sharon Wilcox and John Groskopf). Competition was tight, but in the end The Birders (who had 113) won by one species; ousting Archaeopteryx from holding the title. Archaeopteryx came in second place and saw 112 species. In total, the two teams saw 146 species for the day! We all saw some great birds including some snow birds which hadn’t left yet, some neotropical migrants, and of course our wonderful resident birds. We met at the end of the day for pizza and desserts and swapped stories of missed and best birds.
In addition to being a whole lot of fun, the Birdathon raised a total of $1,391! Team Archaeopteryx raised the most money: $1,266 and The Birders raised $125. Each team chose where their funds will go. Team Archaeopteryx is focused on environmental education and has requested that $600 go to the PRAS Scholarship Fund, $500 go to the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center for youth environmental education, and the remaining $166 will go to the unrestricted PRAS Youth Environmental Education fund. The Birders decided to donate their $125 to the Peace River Wildlife Center. Thanks to both teams and their sponsors for helping PRAS reach funding and education goals!
The Birders saw the following birds that Team Archaeopteryx missed: wild turkey, common loon, reddish egret, swallow-tailed kite, sora, piping plover, least sandpiper, sandwich tern, belted kingfisher, American kestrel, monk parakeet, northern rough-winged swallow, tufted titmouse, barn swallow, worm-eating warbler, swamp sparrow, and brown-headed cowbird.
Team Archaeopteryx saw the following birds that The Birders missed: northern shoveler, magnificent frigate bird, American white pelican, least bittern, northern harrier, solitary sandpiper, lesser yellowlegs, black tern, ruby-throated hummingbird, crested caracara, peregrine falcon, brown headed nuthatch, cedar waxwing, hooded warbler, yellow-throated warbler and Bachman’s sparrow.
So What Is A Birdathon Anyway?
Our 1st annual Birdathon, organized by George Marks, was held on April 21, 2002. The Charlotte Birdathon is an opportunity to have fun with friends, challenge yourself, and to raise money for a good cause. One day each spring PRAS members and others interested birders survey the countryside and coastal areas of Charlotte County in teams finding as many different species of wild birds as possible. This fund raising event is reminiscent of a walkathon but instead of walking, participants are birding or photographing birds. See RULES for details.
Prior to the big day, participants look for sponsors. Sponsors are any individual or organization who would like to pledge an amount such as 10¢ per bird species identified or a fixed amount of $20 or whatever amount the donor chooses.
You can join in the fun by forming a team of friends, picking a name, and scouring the county on bird day. Also, please find a few individuals or businesses to sponsor to your team. If you can’t be there on the big day, join us by pledging a contribution.
If you would like to participate either by making a pledge or by joining us that day, please email the Birdathon Coordinator.
After the big day, teams will collect the money from their sponsors, and turn it in to the Birdathon coordinator no later than the next PRAS meeting in April. The “per species” amount pledged will be calculated on the total bird species seen by individual teams during the Birdathon. For past results click here.
Saturday, April 6, 2019 is the date for the 2019 Birdathon. This is a chance to support an environmental organization and have PRAS support. My team donates their pledges to the Peace River Wildlife Center at Ponce De Leon Park in Punta Gorda. Kathy Olson’s team has supported many organizations over the years, (see the PRAS web site). www.peaceriveraudubon.org
Get a team together and join in the fun or have a “Big Day of Birding” and see how many species of birds you can see in Charlotte County. We meet at Live Oaks Park on Bayshore Drive at 5 PM to review our list of birds, have pizza and collect our pledges. Two teams have cancelled this year and we need some new teams to make this year’s Birdathon a success.
If you need more information and would like to enter a team, please contact me.
Where Does the Money Raised Go?
The proceeds from this year’s Birdathon is placed in the Peace River Audubon Society Youth Environmental Education Fund, which was established to support youth environmental education programs within Charlotte or DeSoto Counties. These programs include (but are not limited to) the 4th Grade Environmental Education Field Trip Program which is conducted by the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC) in cooperation with the Charlotte County Public School System, interpretative wading trips for second-grade classes, educating them about the marine flora and fauna of the Charlotte Harbor Estuary System (also provided by CHEC), and Audubon Adventures magazines for third and fourth grade classes upon request. The PRAS Scholarship fund, awarded to college students from our area studying in areas of Environmental Science is included.
Here is your opportunity to enjoy the excitement of participating in a Birdathon and make a difference by supporting worthy causes. Understanding through education is the key to developing a love and life-long appreciation of our valuable natural resources. You can help our young people gain that appreciation.
Rules & Entry Forms (PDF)
- Rules & Entry Form
- Captain Sheet
- Participant Sheet
- Pledge Sign-up
- Southwest Florida Birding Checklist
Invitation to enter the 18th Annual Charlotte Birdathon
April 6, 2019
Objective: To have fun while raising money for youth environmental education.
- Teams may consist of two, three, or four members who will find bird species anywhere in Charlotte County.
- Team members should remain together and may not split into subteams.
- Only bird species seen or heard by at least two team members can be counted.
- Only birds seen or heard within Charlotte County can be counted.
- Only birds seen or heard between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the count day can be counted.
- No artificial aids, such as bird call tapes, can be used.
- The Birdathon will start and finish at any time and place you choose in Charlotte County, any time after midnight on count day. All teams will meet at 5 PM at a central location to share results and celebrate. Participants will be notified of the place.
- Teams will solicit sponsors and will collect contributions based on number of species seen by their team., or a flat contribution. Members may sponsor themselves. Funds collected should be turned in to the Birdathon coordinator no later than the April PRAS meeting.
There is no cost for entry, but team members are requested to obtain some sponsorship or a pledge of so many cents per species. A sponsorship of at least $10 per team member or a pledge of at least 10 cents per bird species would be very gratefully received. All money raised will be used by Peace River Audubon Society to further the environmental education of young people in Charlotte or DeSoto County.
Contact Dave Lancaster at firstname.lastname@example.org or (586) 214-0203 for additional information.
Teams can be entered as late as the Friday before the Birdathon. For last minute entry, call or email Dave Lancaster: DJL8339@comcast.net.