On May 23 I will set out to identify as many bird species as possible within a 24-hour period to raise funds for bird conservation.
I have watched birds for as long as I can remember. I grew up on the shore of Lake Erie not far from Point Pelee National Park. Some provincial rarities nested right on our property, including red-headed woodpeckers and Carolina wrens. A bald eagle once perched on a dead tree by the lake, and this was back when Ontario had only a handful of breeding pairs. One day a black-chinned hummingbird hovered in front of its reflection in our living room window. Many warbler species (like the Blackburnian warbler shown here) migrated through each spring and fall, and a diversity of winter migrants visited our feeder. With so many unusual experiences, the birding bug caught me early.
So did my concern for bird conservation. Many of Canada’s most vibrant songbirds are threatened by loss of habitat. Many species are in decline, some for reasons we have hardly begun to understand. Besides being lovely to behold, birds are essential because of the role they play in numerous ecosystems. Over the years I have joyfully witnessed the recovery of certain species, such as the bald eagle and Eastern bluebird, thanks largely to the efforts of both conservation organizations and property owners protecting and building habitat. Bird conservation makes a difference.
For the first time in 2012, I am participating in the Baillie Birdathon, the oldest sponsored bird count in North America, raising money for bird research and conservation. Funds raised will go to Bird Studies Canada, the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network, the James L. Baillie Memorial Fund and other designated bird conservation clubs. I have designated that part of the funds I raise will go to a local organization, Guelph Field Naturalists.
Since this is my first birdathon, I’ve set a modest goal of $1,000. All my life I’ve had an aversion to hitting people up for money, so it takes something I feel passionate about to break out of my comfort zone. I started off by donating $50 of my own and challenge you to do the same. I would only need nine more donations of $50 to reach my goal, but whatever you can afford will be welcome. Additionally, to help reach the goal, I pledge another $5 for every donation of $50 or more made on or before May 23.
I will do the birdathon on May 23, 2012, counting as many bird species as I can identify by eye or ear in 24 hours. Since I’ve never done this before, I’m setting a goal of 80 species, because I do not know what to expect. Closer to the date I will decide what course to follow and post information here. I will not call birds or otherwise interfere with them except by my quiet presence. I am good at identifying by ear, and will count vocalizations along with visual records. In case of bad weather, I may choose to do the birdathon on May 24 or 25 instead. Updates will appear here.
Pledges are welcome, however my $5 pledge only applies to $50 donations made beforehand.
Please help me reach my fundraising goals. Visit my fundraising page for more information and to watch my progress. Just click “Sponsor Me” to make a donation.
Thank you in advance for your generosity!