The Bird-a-thon is back for 2021!
Details for this year
The Delaware Bird-A-Thon is back this spring, so mark your calendars and get ready to do some birding for a great cause! In the 15 years since it began, the Bird-A-Thon has raised over $600,000 for conservation, helped preserve over 2,100 acres of habitat and supports DOS's Conservation Science Grants program. Given this track record, we are thrilled to announce that this year's Bird-A-Thon will take place from May 1-9, 2021! Brochures will be mailed directly to members in April, but registration forms, the full list of rules, and tips and tricks for a successful Bird-A-Thon are availabe below if you scroll down. This year we are also rolling out some new categories, including yard, patch, and photography challenges! We'll be posting those details on the website very soon!
Mispillion Harber Purchase Completed with Past Funds!
DOS is also excited to announce to our members and donors the successful completion of our 2019 Delaware Bird-A-Thon goal: the acquisition and protection of private inholdings at Mispillion Harbor, a globally important migratory shorebird site on the Delaware Bay. This acquisition, in the works for many years and a long-time vision of late Bird-A-Thon founder, Bill Stewart, was the result of a partnership with The Conservation Fund, Delaware Wild Lands, Inc., and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). All Bird-A-Thon participants and donors can take great pride in having helped raise over a quarter of a million dollars from DOS to protect this critical site! (The newly acquired land will not yet be open to the public, as DNREC assesses opportunities for shoreline restoration to benefit the federally threatened Red Knot.) Stay tuned for more updates from DOS as the project progresses!
A New Target for the Bird-a-thon
On the heels of this very welcome news, we are also excited to announce the goal of this year's Bird-A-Thon: the acquisition of the Fortner Property, near Port Penn in New Castle County. Located within the complex of wetlands at Augustine Creek, this property is important to Delaware's small, apparently resident Sandhill Crane population, and includes quality marsh and mature forest habitat for a number of other species that are of conservation concern within the state, including rails and shorebirds. DOS has set a goal of raising $50,000 from this year's Bird-A-Thon, which will go to the acquisition of this property by our partners at Delaware Wild Lands, Inc.
What is the Delaware Bird-A-Thon?
The Bird-A-Thon is a fundraiser focused on purchasing and conserving critical bayshore habitat in Delaware. Over 15 years we have raised over $600,000 and protected 2100 acres of habitat for shorebirds and other coastal species of concern. Many of these sites are used by long-distance migrants, including the famous Red Knot. A portion of the funds are also used to support the DOS Conservation Science Grants program.
How does the Bird-a-Thon work?
Paricipants in the Bird-A-Thon try to see how many birds they can find in a 24-hour period and how much money they can raise by signing up sponsors to support them. Sponsors can pledge either a set sum of money or an amount of money per bird species seen or heard. Sign up your sponsors and then go find birds in your backyard, wander through your neighborhood, explore a state park, or bird the entire state! Have fun birding while helping to purchase critical habitats!
How can I donate to the Bird-a-Thon?
If you aren't able to participate in the field but you want to support the effort, you or your business can donate directly to the Bird-a-Thon fund. All contributions are tax-deductible. If you want your contribution to go to a specific team, enter the team name where is says "add a note (optional)" on the donation form.
What are the rules for the Delaware Bird-A-Thon?
- Time period: May 1st-9th, 2021
- Count must be conducted during a single 24-hour period.
- Birds may be identified either by sight or sound in Delaware, maritime boundaries included.
- For teams, 2 or more team members must identify the bird.
- Participants must adhere to the ABA Code of Birding Ethics.
- Record birds on the checklist provided in the Bird-A-Thon brochure.
- Wild birds only, no zoo birds or escapees are eligible.
- To be eligible for prizes, all checklists, pledge sheets, and funds must be received by June 15th, 2021.
- Mail completed checklist, pledge form, registration or contributor’s form, and collected donations to: DOS, PO Box 4247, Greenville, DE 19807.
Statewide: The traditional Bird-A-Thon format. Birds are counted throughout the state using any method of transport.
Carbon-free: Lessen your impact on the planet by birding only by walking, biking, and other carbon emissions-free transport methods
County Challenge: Bird within one of Delaware's three amazing counties!
Yard Challenge (NEW): Bird from your yard or immediate neighborhood!
Patch Challenge (NEW): Bird at a single favorite location, such as a local park or wildlife area!
Photography Challenge (NEW): Only photographed birds are counted! Test your photography skills with this fun new category!
I want to participate. How do I sign up?
You can register online or by printing out a PDF form and mailing it in. Once you are registered you need to find sponsors to pledge to your Bird-a-thon. See the tips below.
Tips for a Successful Bird-a-Thon
Part of the fun is getting sponsors. Here are some tips for fundraising!