Get your binoculars and bird guides ready for the first Salmon
River “Spring Wings” Bird-a-thon set for Saturday, May 21, in the
A Bird-a-thon is a friendly, competitive fundraiser similar to a
walk-a-thon, but instead of counting miles, participants count as
many bird species as possible in a 24-hour period. Each team
invites friends, family, colleagues and businesses to pledge an
amount, from dimes to dollars, for each bird species recorded.
Sponsors can also pledge a fixed amount. Proceeds will be used to
purchase subscriptions of Wildlife Express, a monthly newspaper
about Idaho’s fish, wildlife and habitats, for all fourth-grade
classrooms in Lemhi and Custer counties for the 2011-2012 school
The Bird-a-thon promises to keep the “fun” in this fundraising
event. Twitter fans can “tweet” and Facebook followers can post
their real-time birding progress to sponsors through the handle
“salmonbirdathon.” Prizes for best team name, most species seen,
most money raised, most unusual bird seen, and best bird photo
(amateur and professional categories) will spur friendly
competition and reward hard-working participants.
Sponsors can also have fun by devising some wild and challenging
pledges, such as offering $5 for each bird observed before 6 a.m.,
$10 for finding all six species of swallows, or $1 a bird for
non-motorized Bird-a-thon teams. Typical pledges range from 5 to 50
cents per bird species. There are about 220 bird species in the
Upper Salmon Basin during peak spring migration. Finding even 100
of these species in a 24-hour period will be extremely
Idaho Fish and Game biologist Beth Waterbury sees the
Bird-a-thon as a great excuse to enjoy a day of spring birding.
“It’s also a perfect opportunity to introduce beginners to the
joy of bird watching and engage people in collecting valuable data
on the bird species moving through east-central Idaho during peak
spring migration,” Waterbury said.
Gina Knudson of Salmon Valley Stewardship and Bird-a-thon
“This is a fun way of getting to know more about our local
non-human neighbors and visitors. I think most of us are going to
be surprised at how many bird species share this beautiful area
with us,” Knudson said.
The Bird-a-thon is open to birders of all experience levels,
from beginner to expert. All birds must be counted within the
24-hour time interval on May 21, and birds must be observed within
Lemhi and Custer counties.
For Bird-a-thon rules, pledge forms, and further information,
call or stop by the following “Spring Wings” Bird-a-thon sponsor
Idaho Fish and Game, 99 Highway 93 North, Salmon,
Salmon Valley Stewardship, 513 Main Street, Salmon,
Public Lands Center, 1206 S. Challis Street, Salmon,
208-756-5400, and all Salmon-Challis National Forest Ranger
Districts in Challis, Mackay, Leadore and North Fork.
Stanley Community Library, Ace of Diamonds Street, Stanley,
Beth Waterbury is the regional nongame biologist in Fish and
Game’s Salmon Region.