Delaware Bird-a-Thon

DOS's premiere fund raising event to benefit habitat preservation.

17th Annual Bird-a-Thon scheduled for  May 6-14, 2023!

The Bird-a-thon is on for 2023!

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 17 years since it began, the Bird-A-Thon has raised over $700,000 for conservation, helped preserve 2,680 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 6-14, 2023!  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.

Property target for the 2023 Bird-a-thon

Many years we have identified a property to purchase with funds raised that year.  However, these types of purchases take years to negotiate and close and for this year we do not have any properties ready for final closing.  We have two properties of critical bird habitat that are close and will probably be announced with next year's Bird-a-thon.  The money you raise or donate this year will be set aside to be used to purchase these or similar properties when the negotiations are completed .

BAT 2022 photo2

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.

Blackburnian Warbler

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 indicated on the donation form.


What are the rules for the Delaware Bird-A-Thon?

  • Time period: May 1st-8th, 2022
  • 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!

Scarlet Tanager

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!

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Set a Goal

Setting a goal not only gives you something to work towards, but also gives your donors a better understanding and definition of the cause. Set a goal that’s attainable, but challenging! Start your first year with whatever feels comfortable, whether it’s $50, $100, or $5000, and work your way up from there.

Sponsors can come from many sources

Contact family and friends and ask them to pledge!

Start a discussion with your co-workers and ask them to support you.

Ask business owners to sponsor you.

Use Social Media

Share the event on your personal social media pages to get the word out to even more people. Make sure to share it early on, and then closer to your big day. Post pictures of birds that could be helped, yourself birding, or habitats that have been saved by the Bird-A-Thon. Live post pictures during your big day to get people excited about the cause!

Tell a story

When requesting money for the Delaware Bird-A-Thon, make sure to tell a story, make it personal and relatable to your potential donors. Why do you care? How are you connected to the cause? What will the money be used for and why is it so important to you?



Give options

Would your donors prefer to donate per species seen? If so, make sure to give them an estimate of how many birds you think you could see, and then follow up with your exact species total after the big day.  If they’d prefer to donate one flat amount, direct them to the website, the mailable donate form, or collect a check.

Follow up

Once you’ve gotten your donations and reached your goal, make sure to stay in touch with your donors. After the event, contact them with a follow-up including a story about your birding adventure. Did you see any life birds? Did something crazy happen? Let them know, and send along a few pictures of your day!


Contact Us with Questions about the Bird-a-thon