Has your Bird City entered a team in this year’s Great Wisconsin Birdathon yet? It’s not too late to do so.
Conducted annually by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, the event is the state’s largest fundraiser for bird conservation and research. It’s also a perfect way for Bird Cities to engage their residents in birding, conservation, and education -- and to raise funds for local conservation projects.
The month of May is traditionally the time when Great Wisconsin Birdathon teams (and spring migrants, of course) spread out across Wisconsin. This year's birdathon, like many things, is turning out to be anything but traditional. The event is being extended to run from April 15 through October 15.
Although no one can predict what the Covid-19 situation will look like later in the year, an extended birdathon provides teams with the flexibility to stick to the original spring migration timeframe or postpone their day until the summer or fall.
Birdathon participants are being encouraged to follow health guidelines, stay safe, and explore creative alternatives to their traditional big days -- including backyard birding, signing up as solo teams, or having teammates bird in different locations.
Sarah Cameron, coordinator of the birdathon, reports that she and her colleagues at the Natural Resources Foundation have brainstormed three ways that teams can participate safely:
1. Hold a “Big Sit.” Think of it as the tailgate of birding: Set up lawn chairs at least six feet apart, have each team member take a seat, and observe the birds that come your way.
2. Turn your birdathon into a relay. You and your team members don’t need to bird in the same location; you can bird solo. Then you compile your results after your big day.
3. Bird in your backyard. Consider the birdathon an opportunity to get to know your backyard birds! Birding in your yard eliminates the need to travel or bird in groups. Sightings can be compiled at day’s end. To join, visit the event's organizations page, or simply Google "Great Wisconsin Birdathon" and then click on the "Fundraise For Your Own Cause" tab.