We Need Money… Birds Don’t Count Themselves!

Today’s west winds and cold temperatures failed to bring a longshore flight.  But tomorrow and Monday both look  ideal for some good flights.  Many new season first birds are anticipated shortly!

In the meantime ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to sit down and have a serious chat.  Birdathon is coming.  The Indiana Dunes State Park puts forth a great deal of bird related programming.  Some of us would like to see all bird programming, but alas we have other amazing stories to tell in the natural and cultural resources that is the dunes.  These bird programs include this longshore flight count and educational blog, weekly bird walks from the Nature Center, a popular bird feeding station known for rarities, monthly bird banding demonstrations, owl hikes, and the ever popular saw-whet owl banding operation in the fall.  These are more than your county park bird ID hikes.  They take background, supplies, and passion to put on.  There’s even been talk of designating the park the Indiana Dunes Bird Observatory.  Just like the birds, bird tourism is big business.

Each year, we scour the May woodlands, wetlands, prairies, and lakeshore along Lake Michigan to record a plentiful list of bird species all for charity.  These such birdathons come together in the spirit of friendly competition and of course to raise money for their sponsoring organization.  Many of the great programming and special events at the state park would not be possible (or free!) if it were not for the birdathon.

Sarah Sass learned begging at an early age!
Sarah Sass learned begging at an early age!

For the sixth year, our interpid birding team from the Indiana DNR will be setting out to record our goal of 150 species to raise money for the Friends of Indiana Dunes and their continued birding program support. On Saturday, May 18 our team will be starting at 2:30am for owls, whip-poor-wills, and nighthawks, and race towards the finish line, after dark, picking up raptors, shorebirds, and warblers along the way.

How can you help raise money for the parks birding projects, like the new Green Tower platform construction project? It’s easy! Simply fill out the form found below and send it in by May 16 (do it today, while it is on your mind!). Last year our team found 142 species of birds. If you had pledged a dime per species, you would have donated $14.20. A dollar per species would have been $142.00… you get the idea. If you want to challenge our team with an extra $5.00 for a specific bird, maybe your favorite bird, please do so! We love the challenge!  The full list of birds will be sent to all that pledge and individuals who pledge can use it for tax deductions later!

Download the pledge form here Dunes Birdathon 2013 or email the info on the form to dunesnc@dnr.in.gov.  Please help us continue our bird related activities.  We really hate moss hikes!

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