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Birdathon: Wikis


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The term Birdathon was first used in 1976 by Bird Studies Canada [2271] to describe a fundraising event in which participants solicited pledges for the number of bird species they would count during the duration of the event. For each of the past 32 years, Bird Studies Canada’s “Baille Birdathon” has raised funds for conservation programs and projects throughout Canada. <ref></ref>

The origins of the concept of a “Birdathon” are unclear; however it is likely an amalgamation of competitive bird listing (e.g. Big Year, Big Day) and nonprofit fundraising. Competitive bird listing dates back to at least the 1930s; businessman Guy Emerson (1887-1969) is generally credited with originating “Big Year” listing when in 1939 he counted 497 bird species in North America.

The first Birdathon in the United States was in 1977 by the Point Reyes Bird Observatory (now PRBO Conservation Science).<ref></ref>


Birdathon is currently the National Audubon Society's largest annual fundraising event and birdwatching competition. Audubon chapters and offices across the country help to raise nearly $1 million annually. Each spring, thousands of participants nationwide request pledges from sponsors in any amount. In return, participants pledge to count as many bird species as possible—identified either by sight or sound—within a single self-selected 24-hour period. Anyone may participate, including both novice and expert birders, and participants may fundraise either as individuals or in teams. All fundraising dollars collected go directly to supporting the mission of Audubon, habitat conservation, science, policy, and education programs.

In addition to the annual National Audubon Society Birdathon [2272], several Audubon chapters nationwide promote active Birdathons, including: Audubon Society of Portland [2273], Seattle Audubon Society [2274], Tucson Audubon Society [2275], Santa Clara Valley Audubon [2276], Maine Audubon, Columbus Audubon [2277], Tahoma Audubon, Audubon Alaska [2278], Audubon Society of the District of Columbia, Otter Creek Audubon, Mobil Bay Audubon, Yolo Audubon, Huntington Audubon, Bedford Audubon, Northeast Kingdom Audubon, Houston Audubon, Wake Audubon, Madrone Audubon, New York City Audubon, Chicago Audubon, Marin Audubon, and others.


Several independent Audubon Societies--those having no affiliation with the National Audubon Society--conduct their own Birdathons. These include:
Audubon Sociey of Rhode Island[], Massachusetts Audubon Society, and New Jersey Audubon Society, which has subsequently renamed its Birdathon the World Series of Birding.[]

In addition, Birdathons are in common use as a fundraising event for a variety of other nonprofit organizations:
Nature centers (e.g. Vermont Center for Natural History, Irvine Nature Center-MD).
Wildlife and natural history organizations (e.g. International Crane Foundation-WI, Ventura Wildlife Society-CA; Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary-NY; Nova Scotia Nature Trust; Loudon Wildlife Conservancy).
Museums (e.g. LSU Museum of Natural Sciences-LA).
Bird observatories (e.g. San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, Klamath Bird Observatory).
Ornithological societies (e.g. Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union; Buffalo Ornithological Society; Wisconsin Society for Ornithology).
Bird clubs (e.g. Riveredge Bird Club-WI; Beckham Bird Club-NY).
Parks (e.g. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Monroe County Parks and Recreation Department; Blackwater Falls State Park-WV; Huntley Meadows Park; Friends of Sligo Creek)
Universities (e.g. Ohio Wesleyan University-OH).
Arboretums (e.g. Nichols Arboretum).
International organizations (e.g. Jocotoco Foundation-Ecuador; Mindo Cloudforest Foundation-Ecuador; The Nature Conservancy of Canada).
Associations of nonprofits (e.g. Great Minnesota Birdathon; Southwest Michigan Team Birdathon; Greater Cincinnati Area Birdathon).
Others (e.g. Maria Mitchell Association; Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association-PA; Wisconsin Humane Society).


National Audubon Society filed for a trademark on “Birdathon” on May 8, 1985. The trademark (number 1368260) was registered on October 29, 1985. A copy of the trademark application and related information is available online at National Audubon Society renewed the Birdathon trademark in 2005.

Several of the first organizations to hold Birdathons are chapters of the National Audubon Society. Note that a chapter of the National Audubon Society is an independent 501(c)(3) organizations that voluntarily affiliates with the National Audubon Society; however, National Audubon Society has not explicitly granted chapters the right to use its Birdathon trademark.



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