Birdathon

Birdathon is an annual fundraiser that supports the Ryan Exline Memorial Scholarship and care of the animal ambassadors that live at Audubon Community Nature Center.

Birdathon Overview

This annual event has traditionally been a 24-hour endeavor to see as many bird species as possible. Participants go birding, pledge money, or both. 

All funds raised support the Ryan Exline Memorial Fund, which awards a scholarship to a local, college-bound student studying the natural sciences as well as provides funds to care for Audubon’s live animals and supports major habitat improvements for them. 

Tim Galati is the recipient of this year’s Ryan Exline Memorial Scholarship. Tim lives in Lakewood with his three younger siblings and parents, Amy and Tony Galati. He is a senior at Southwestern Central and has enjoyed playing soccer for the school, boating, fishing and volunteering throughout the community, especially with the SPCA foster program.

He plans to earn a Bachelor’s degree through the Animal Behavior, Ecology and Conservation program at Canisius College in Buffalo.

Birdathon takes place the first Saturday in May. For 2021 the event will last May 1 – 9 with new incentives and challenges to support the newest animal habitats that are part of the Pamela A. Westrom Wildlife Habitats. Learn more about the new habitat here.

 

Details and Rules

Birdathon takes place May 1 – 9, 2021. The count begins at 12:01 a.m. on May 1 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on May 9.

Participants register by filling out a form or sending their information to Sarah Hatfield at shatfield@auduboncnc.org or mailing to 1600 Riverside Road, Jamestown, NY  14701. Participants can form teams of up to six people. Participants and teams must choose either 4-hour or 24-hour birding category and Individual or Team. Each team should designate a team lead to set up the team information on the form mentioned above.

Participants then collect pledges from friends, family, and community members either online app.99pledges.com/fund/auduboncnc or in person on the paper pledge sheet. Pledges can be flat rate or per species. Per species is a small set amount per species of bird found. For example, $1.00 per species. If the team plans to see about 100 species, that’s $100. If someone pledged $.50, it would be $50 for that same 100 species. (Per species is more fun for the birders!) ACNC encourages you to collect flat rate pledges at the time of the pledge. Per species pledges must be collected after the team is done birding.

Finally, participants go birding, according to their selected options (individual or team, 4-hour or 24-hour).

Rules

  • Count each species you see and record it. You are not counting individual birds. Any species considered uncommon for the time of year must be corroborated by another birder, photographic evidence, or song recording evidence. These are marked with asterisks on the birding checklist. Questionable or unverified species may be eliminated from the count.
  • If you are birding in the 24-hour group, you can split up your time. For example, you can bird every morning for six mornings for four hours.
  • Teams must bird together (60%+ of participants) for the time to count.
  • Participants must bird in the following locations:
    • Pennsylvania Counties — Warren, Erie, Crawford, and McKean
    • New York Counties — Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Erie.

Timelines

Species lists and pledge sheets, with any collected money, need to be returned to ACNC by May 11.

Winners of the incentives and prizes will be announced at noon on May 13. ACNC will send letters to people who pledged per species to let them know what they owe.

Opportunities

Audubon is offering Learn-to-Bird programs on their property during the first week of May:

May 3: Pond edges and Big Pond
May 4: Shrubby wetlands and ponds
May 5: Backyard Birding
May 6: Fields and fencerow
May 7: Young forest and pond edges

Questions

If you have questions on how to pledge, join a team, or other issues, please contact Sarah Hatfield at shatfield@auduboncnc.org or (716) 569-2345.

If you would like an Audubon staff member to help you register you may call the reception desk at (716) 569-2345.

 

View registered teams and profiles

The Birding Classic
Members of The Birding Classic have been participating in the Birdathon for more than 16 years, doing a couple passes around Audubon, heading to the Akeley gamelands, and then finishing up at various locations in the county (sometimes at local eating establishment). They will continue their tradition this year, welcoming the winner of the Ryan Exline Memorial Scholarship, Tim Galati, into the groups of bird nerds for the not-quite-24-hour day. 

The expect to see between 75 and 100 species. Visit their pages listed after their names to donate directly to them or their team. Or donate directly to the Ryan Exline Memorial Fund here.

The Venerable Vultures
The Venerable Vultures will be soaring from their roost along the Lake Erie shoreline, through the hills of Arkwright, to the shimmering waters of Canadaway Creek in an attempt to see as many birds as possible in 24 hours. 

The expect to see between 60 and 80 species. Visit their pages listed after their names to donate directly to them or their team. Or donate directly to the Ryan Exline Memorial Fund here.

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The Wrenegades
This duo of bird nerds will swoop across the birding area to record as many species as possible. From the hilltops of Scandia to the shores of Presque Isle, from the depths of the Allegheny National Forest to a front yard in Akeley, the Wrenegades will count how the species they see in 24 hours.

They expect to see 72 species. Visit their pages listed after their names to donate directly to them or their team. Or donate directly to the Ryan Exline Memorial Fund here.

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Flittering Flyways
Boldly going where no one has gone before, we are planning to count at the Gronquist camp on the Chautauqua Ridge, the first of what hopefully will be many violations of the privacy of the avian residents. Then we will pad our count by heading to Lake Erie State Park.

They expect to see 40 species in their 4-hour birding time. Visit their pages listed after their names to donate directly to them or their team. Or donate directly to the Ryan Exline Memorial Fund here.

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Birders on Bicycles 

Birders on Bicycle members will be taking two favorite hobbies and combining them into one fun day. The team plans to pedal around the beautiful, dynamic shores of Lake Erie making stops to bird. They are hoping this peninsula of Presque Isle State Park will provide a rich array of species during the spring migration. They are hoping to spot at least 60 bird species in a four-hour period of time. Regardless if it’s more or less species, this fun-loving team is sure to have a blast!

They expect to see 60 species in their 4-hour birding time. Visit their page to donate directly to their team. Or donate directly to the Ryan Exline Memorial Fund here.

 

  • Katie Finch 
  • Leigh Rovegno 
  • Don Watts
  • Justina Johnson

Pledges, Incentives, and Prizes

Incentives

  1. See the most species
  2. Raise the most money as a team

Prizes

Prizes are given for the most species in 4 categories: they receive 10 lbs. birdseed and green ACNC tote bag; one per team member

  1. Individual 4hr.
  2. Individual 24 hr.
  3. Team 4 hr.
  4. Team 24 hour

Another prize is for the team that raises the most amount of money: 1 framed Audubon print, and the rest of the team gets an unframed print or sticker.

If you or your team raises $500 or more (based on donor level) they their get their or their team’s name on the donor board for the Pamela A. Westrom Wildlife Habitat. Other donor levels are $750 – $999 and $1000 – $1999.

Pledges

Pledges can be collected online at app.99pledges.com/fund/auduboncnc or by using a paper pledge sheet. Pledges are either a flat rate (of an amount specified by the donor) or a per species pledge. Teams can list how many species they expect to see in their team profiles on their registration form. Flat rate pledges should be collected at the time of the pledge, if possible.

Audubon will send letters or emails to the per species pledgers, and so addresses are vital information for pledgers.

If pledgers donate $500 or more they get their name on the donor board for the Pamela A. Westrom Wildlife Habitat. Other donor levels are $750 – $999 and $1000 – $1999.

If pledgers donate $2000 or more they get all the perks of the Community Partners.

Address

Audubon Community Nature Center
1600 Riverside Road
Jamestown, NY 14701

(716) 569-2345
info@auduboncnc.org

Click here for directions

Hours and Admission

Nature Center:

Monday - Saturday
10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Sunday
Closed

Click here for holiday closings

Admission
Temporarily by donation

Grounds and Liberty:

Daily, year round from dawn to dusk
Free of charge

Thank you, Community Partners

Audubon Community Partners make a significant financial contribution each year because they believe that every child deserves the opportunity to have a real and healthy connection to nature.

Curt and Susie Westrom

Bob and Kathy Frucella
Carnahan-Jackson Foundation

Chautauqua Region Community Foundation
Holmberg Foundation
Hultquist Foundation
Jessie Smith Darrah Fund

Lenna Foundation
Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation