Steve Brad’s Second Thursday Bird Walk has developed a reputation among its regulars as a very productive “rarity chase.” The emphasis is generally on the uniqueness of the sightings, rather than the number of species seen. But in April, the group focused on seeing how many different species of birds it could tally. Why the change in objective? This was a Birdathon!
Birdathons are a uniquely Audubon fundraising scheme, a fun way to raise money to help support chapter activities. People pledge a specific amount of money for each bird species seen. If someone pledges 50 cents a bird, for example, and 50 birds are seen, the contribution becomes $25. The secret is lining up a lot of participants, birders as well as armchair donors.
Steve decided to organize and conduct the April Birdathon as a way to support the new BVAS Nature Endowment, and the timing was perfect. Every dollar raised in the Birdathon would also generate an additional $2 donation as a result of the wonderful matching funds grant recently received by BVAS.
The Birdathon idea struck a responsive chord with the regulars on Steve’s monthly walk, as well a number of friends. About 20 people joined the Birdathon bird walk, helping find a total of 74 species of birds. Another 25 supporters who couldn’t join the walk also made donation pledges. Two of those “other” supporters were BVAS Board members Patty and Bruce Montgomery, who pledged 26 cents a bird in honor of the fact that the Birdathon was being held on their 26th wedding anniversary. They also said they would double their pledge if the birders saw more than 50 birds, which proved to be the case. (It was unclear whether that doubling provision also applied to the number of future anniversaries on their horizon!) Multiplying all the pledges by the 74 species seen resulted in Birdathon donations totaling a little over $3,000. After adding in $6,000 from the matching funds grant, the BVAS Nature Endowment Fund will benefit by more than $9,000!