Birdathon 2022 – Thank You!
Thank You for a Fun and Successful Birdathon!
by Sarah Swanson, Birdathon Coordinator
Birdathon 2022 was a success by every measure. Together we have raised over $165,000, exceeding our goal, and the total is still climbing. In addition to our excellent fundraising, we had 292 participants this year, an increase from the last several years. Around 90 participants were new to the event, which gives me great optimism for the future. Several Birdathoners were under 18 years old and we hope they are just beginning a long tradition of participation. Several other participants have been doing Birdathon for 30 or even 40 years. We also added a new element this year: a weeklong series of virtual speakers that kicked off Birdathon in late April and taught us about urban birding, birding near home, female birds, and the wonders of our logo bird, the Belted Kingfisher.
This year, Birdathon had four new teams including one based in Eugene, one for LGBTQIA+ birders, one for Portland Audubon volunteers, and one led by a local author. The four new teams from last year returned and were again very popular. In total, 35 teams, big and small, gathered to bird during the six weeks of Birdathon. They enjoyed seeing birds across Oregon from the high desert of Malheur to the stormy surf of Yachats. They birded wetlands in Eugene, Summer Lake, Forest Grove, and Boardman. Some went out in a convoy of bikes, and some traversed the state by van, while others explored the natural areas near their homes. Birdathon is for everyone and I love the creativity that individuals and teams show in their planning.
I’m lucky to get to read reports from many of the Birdathon trips and I wanted to share some of my favorites:
- “One of my favorite memories from this year’s Birdathon was watching a brood of wood duck ducklings, maybe a few days old, zipping around on the pond.”
- “It was exciting that at least 3 of our best bird sightings were first observed by my 10-year-old son.”
- “We saw cedar waxwings participating in the courtship display of passing a berry back and forth. It was adorable!”
- “At Powell Butte we watched a killdeer do a very convincing broken wing display while in the opposite direction we spotted the other adult moving through the grass with two tiny chicks!”
- “We watched a prairie falcon mobbing a red-tailed hawk. The hawk kept flipping over in the air and trying to grab the prairie falcon. It was pretty amazing to watch!”
- “One of the first birds we saw was a peregrine falcon eating a starling!”
As Birdathon 2022 wraps up, I’m filled with immense gratitude for everyone who played a part in making it a success. Our dedicated group of team leaders are first on the list of thank-yous because they make this event possible. Each of them puts in so much work behind the scenes to create these fun trips and bring a group of birders together. We simply couldn’t do this event without them. Thank you also to our participants who have stuck with us through COVID and all the changes it brought to Birdathon. Thank you to the donors who supported individuals and teams—together these donations make up a significant amount of money that allows Portland Audubon to perform its critical work. Our event sponsors and prize sponsors really stepped up this year to help us raise funds as well as put on a farm-to-table Birdathon Celebration at Topaz Farm, and we appreciate their generosity. One more thank-you goes to the staff members in the Nature Store and in Membership and Development that help this event go smoothly.
Birdathon is a unique fundraiser because it gets our participants out in nature to enjoy the very birds and habitats that Portland Audubon works to protect across the state. Having a great cause that you are passionate about makes fundraising (almost) easy. I hope you’ll join us next year for Birdathon 2023!
Interested in joining us next year at Birdathon?
Registration opens on March 15, 2023!
In the meantime, if you have any questions, please reach out to Sarah Swanson, Birdathon Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.