Birds show us that necessity is the mother of invention. How else do you explain the migration of the Red Knot, the evolution of a woodpecker’s tongue or a crossbill’s…well, bill. When in need of something just out of reach, birds adapt.
For many of us, the COVID-19 crisis has caused many things that we used to take for granted to feel just out of reach. Here at Audubon New Mexico, we’ve decided to take a lesson from the birds and adapt ourselves by taking our spring Birdathon fundraiser virtual!
Most years, Birdathon involves teams of birders who collect pledges and donations from friends and family to then go out and try to observe as many species as they can in a day. Due to the current crisis, we’ve made some adjustments to consider the health and economic impacts to our communities. If you’re able to make a donation to support our conservation work and amazing non-profit employees, we truly appreciate it. However, in the spirit of community and getting outside, we want anyone and everyone to embrace the joy of birding, regardless of birding skill or donation size. This year, we’re encouraging birders across the state to put their skills to work as individuals to see how many species they can see during the Global Big Day on Saturday, May 9th. In addition to our statewide Birdathon, the Central New Mexico Audubon Society will be hosting a Birdathon for their membership in and around the Albuquerque area. You can learn more about the CNMAS Birdathon here.
Of course we know one of the best parts of birding is the community that develops among birders on outings. So instead we’ll gather virtually on social media.
Throughout the day on May 9th, Audubon New Mexico will be compiling a master list on ebird that you can contribute to when you share your lists with NMBirdathon. We’ll also be posting updates from our participating staff on Facebook Live, Instagram, and Twitter, and we’d love to share your stories as well. So tag Audubon New Mexico and use #NMBirdathon to share your photos, lists, and updates throughout the day.
And for the purpose of bragging rights, we’ll announce the top 3 lists and profile the birders behind them in upcoming newsletters and emails.
Here are the rules:
- The objective is to observe as many species of bird as you possibly can in a continuous 24 hour period on May 9th.
- Practice social distancing at all times. Let’s be more Stellar’s Jay than Pinyon Jay and avoid flocking together. Respect all health and safety rules in place by local and state officials.
- Respect all closures. If you do choose to venture outside your own backyard, please remember that many parks and open spaces are closed to the public. Please respect these orders and forgo your favorite hotspot if it’s a closed facility.
- Share your ebird list. If you use ebird to compile a list on May 9th, please share it with the NMBirdathon account (NMBIrdathon@gmail.com). We’ll report back the master list and the top lists submitted.
- Share the fun you’re having virtually. We may not be able to share our stories in person so social media is the next best thing. Tag Audubon New Mexico in your posts and use #NMBirdathon.
All of us are struggling with grief, caregiving, isolation, frustration, and uncertainty. While we know that the enjoyment that comes from a day of birding is not enough to overcome these feelings, we hope that by coming together as a community to share our adventures and accomplishments we will be able to provide some moments of collective happiness through our love of birds and the outdoors.
Thank you all and stay safe!