Birdathon 2013 Raises Over $5,000
The Region 5 Birdathon held on May 18th raised a total of $5,459, with 32 teams and 67 members taking part. Funds were received from 118 sponsors of 22 teams.
The Marsh Madness team took top honors in the fundraising category with an impressive $1,222 in donations—the second-highest team total ever. They have been dedicated supporters of OAS, and this year they set a new personal best for an incredible eight years in a row.
King David’s Heron raised a total of $836 to take second place. They, too, have been great fundraisers and hold the current record for single-year sponsorship.
The ever-dependable Blackburnians were our third “super-team,” with supporters donating $500. Like Marsh Madness and King David’s Heron, the Blackburnians have been top-tier fundraisers year after year.
A Strange Tern of Events completed the top four. This Baltimore Woods team edged out the West Wings with $432 in receipts.
Thanks to everyone who participated in or donated to this unique fundraising effort!
Ken and Rose Burdick
2013 Birdathon Results
This year’s participants enjoyed another great day of birding on the 55th annual “Big Run” Birdathon. The total species count for all teams combined was 199 this year – a tie with 1996 for 3rd best ever. The individual teams also did very well, with many bagging personal best counts. One sign of abundance, the team average for water birds plus shorebirds, was nine, the highest in the last six years. Another sign was the rather short list of the “easy” species that were missed. On that list were Ring-necked Pheasant, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Acadian Flycatcher, Philadelphia Vireo, Fish Crow and Prothonotary Warbler.
Participation was back up to 2011 levels with 32 teams and 67 members. Most teams are well established regulars, but we also had one all-new team join (June Cowles, Eileen Kampf and Ann Chadderdon) and two previous teams return to the fray (Car-Guys and Bubble Dudes). We especially want to recognize Maryanne Adams & Ken Hodgson and Wayne Fidler for enlisting new, enthusiastic young birders – Sabrina Winslow and Mark Magistro – on their teams.
The weather during May was a near perfect setup for the event. Nocturnal migration during the preceding 15 days was totally blocked or very weak up until Wednesday the 15th. That morning had the possibility of a morning fall-out west of Oswego; and a moderate flight later that night. The passing band of showers can be seen on this sequence at:
From reports of several teams, the Cayuga County shoreline of Lake Ontario was a very good place to be on Birdathon day. Perhaps this was related to the weather on the 15th. Then, on Friday night, the skies were wide open and were filled with birds. The radar animation for Birdathon eve can be viewed at:
The day of the event was pleasant and clear with some moderate winds later in the morning.
In the competitive area, there was a bit of a surprise this year. Joe Brin teamed up with Andrew VanNorstrand and Drew Weber, taking the “Most Birds” category by storm. Their eye-popping total of 158 topped the previous record of 152 set by the Woodcocks in 2009. Looking forward, this is a daunting sum to beat, but we see no sign of an end to the upward trend in the historical data. Second place was taken by the Woodcocks (Bill Purcell, Kevin McGann & Chris Spagnoli) at 149, and third place went to We See Gulls (Wayne Fidler, Mary Magistro & Mark Magistro) with 130. Fourth place was a tie between A Strange Tern of Events from Baltimore Woods (Jason Mauro, Tom Meier, Becky Lynch & Jonathan Kresge) and Wandering Ataloss (Brenda Best & Matt Voelker) at 121. Also, Gerry Smith had an impressive 127 species from Jefferson County, outside of the competition boundary.
Looking at the historical data in more detail, the figure below shows the long-term results for all teams combined, and for the winning team. The top and bottom lines are visual fits to the peaks. The line through the center of each series is a straight line least-squares fit. The straight line makes for a quick analysis, but it is admittedly a poor model for the data. The trend is still clearly up; the increase on the center line is 0.8 species per year and the top lines is about 0.6 species per year.
This raises more questions than answers. In 2020, will the winning team really need to make 156 just for a chance to win? And, what is causing the upward trend? More teams? A more diverse species mix? Better equipment? Better birders with more knowledge about the area? Climate change?
For “Most Birds / Least Miles”, as customary, Dave Nash took it away with a very good 98 species in the Clay Marsh area. The numbers of Singles (15) and Doubles (16), seen only by only one or two teams, was above average. These included some great candidates for “Best Bird”, including What Was That?’s Sandhill Crane, Woodcocks’ Clay-colored Sparrow, Wandering Ataloss’ Evening Grosbeak, and Bushwhacking Fool’s Rusty Blackbird. These were bested by Faith & Joel Baker’s vagrant Scissor-tailed Flycatcher at the cranberry farm in Williamstown for the award. This species is new to Birdathon and reports have been submitted to NYSARC for review.
We are now 99.44% pure on the final fundraising number. With the books on Birdathon nearly closed, the total for this year stands at $5,218. Many thanks again to all who joined in!
Ken & Rose Burdick