The 2022 PRAS Birdathon is right around the corner (March 19)! This is one of PRAS’s biggest annual fundraisers so we need lots of participants.
What is a birdathon you ask? The general idea is similar to a walkathon but instead of earning money for miles walked, you earn for the number of bird species you can identify within 24 hours. There are 3 ways to participate:
- Traditional birdathon
- Photography birdathon
- Single location (Feeder, yard, park)
You may simultaneously participate in the traditional and photography or single location and photography
March 19, 2022 (12:00 am to 11:59 pm) find as many species as you can by sight or sound. Most birds are out in the day, but there are a few night, dawn, and dusk species you may want to try to find.
All identifications and “identifiable” photos are on your honor. We assume you will be honest and not inflate your numbers. While there is a bit of competition in this event, it should mostly be fun. Many people enjoy competing against themselves by comparing their totals from year to year.
Scour Charlotte County high and low to find as many species as you can. Teams may have up to four (4) people. At least 2 team members must see or hear each bird and the group may not separate.
How many species can you photograph in Charlotte County on March 19? This is a solo competition not teams. But you can participate while also doing the traditional or single location birdathon. Photos don’t have to be good, just identifiable by the judges. There will however be 3 winners: (i) most species; (ii) top 2 photos of the day. For the later, each photographer may submit 2 photos in JPG format and they should not be enhanced. Cropping and lighting adjustments are ok but keep the enhancements minimal.
Single Location (Feeder, yard, park)
How many species can you see or hear on March 19 in one location? If you don’t feel like running all over the county and want to count birds in your yard or favorite park, this is your chance! This is a solo competition not teams.
How do I enter?
Send an email with your team name and members to Cathy at Birdathon1@peaceriverAudubon.org and designate which type(s) of birdathon you will be doing.
How do you solicit donations?
Before the big day, find sponsors. This is not just a really fun day but is also a fundraiser for PRAS. Participation is free, but since this is a PRAS fundraiser we would appreciate it if you would solicit donations. Sponsors may donate a set amount (e.g. $25 or $100) or an amount per species identified (e.g. 50 cents or $1), which really is the essence of the challenge. Of course, the number of birds you will see greatly depends on which category and which location. In the traditional birdathon category, beginners typically see about 30 species, intermediate 75, and advanced 90-120. Photography and backyard birds will of course see a lot fewer.
For what will your donations be used?
Each team may choose which PRAS activity they would like to support (more than 1 is ok). Examples include: PRAS college scholarship fund, youth environmental education fund, PRAS’s annual contribution to CHEC (Charlotte Harbor Education Center; PRAS is one of the 4 original founding organizations of CHEC), beautification and maintenance of Audubon Pennington Park, PRAS general fund, etc.
What do I do at the end of the day?
Email Cathy Birdathon1@peaceriverAudubon.org the list of birds you saw or photographed and the amount of funding you raised (if it is known). If you participated in the photo birdathon, also email your 2 photos (see rules above).
For participants in the non-photo categories, photos of your day would be appreciated to include on the PRAS website.
And the winners?
Winners in each category will be selected based on (A) number of species seen and (B) funding raised. Winners and top photos will be announced on the PRAS website. There are no prizes, just the satisfaction that you are helping PRAS raise funds and having a lot of fun in the process.
Want to participate in the fundraising but not compete?
Send Cathy an email Birdathon1@peaceriverAudubon.org and she will tell you the teams who are competing. You can select a team and decide how much you would like to contribute.
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.
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.