by Shannon Donaldson
Birdathon is back! It will be held Saturday, June 17, 2023. Birdathon is a fun and friendly competition to see who can find and identify the most bird species in a day. Everyone is welcome to participate, from beginner to expert birders.
This year, we will again be birding not just for fun, but for a great cause! The money raised through Birdathon all goes toward the purchase of the Owen Sowerwine conservation easement. Owen Sowerwine encompasses 442 acres just outside Kalispell and includes extensive riparian habitat along the Stillwater and Flathead rivers. 168 species of birds have been found in the Owen Sowerwine natural area. Participating in Birdathon will help ensure that this area is secured not just for the wildlife, but that it will also continue to serve as an exceptional outdoor classroom for K-12 conservation education. You can learn more about the Owen Sowerwine effort here.
Birdathon registration is $20 per person kids are free. You can register online or by mail (make sure that your registration is received by June 15th). In general, we will stick to the Flathead Valley (download a Flathead Valley Bird Checklist here). Unlike past years, there will not be two teams (Jays and Tanagers). Teams of up to four (one car) can be formed and a team name can be decided upon. We have some volunteer team captains willing to take less experienced birders along with them for the day. This can be a wonderful introduction to birding by seeing how many birds can be identified by ear, flight pattern and behavior alone. For more information, to request a registration form, to donate a raffle item, or if you would like to be connected with a team captain or volunteer to be a team captain, please email email@example.com.
At 6:30 pm, Saturday, June 17, after a day of birding, we will gather in Creston to share our bird lists, stories and highlights. Flathead Audubon will be hosting a BBQ and raffle at the Creston pavilion. The pavilion is located adjacent to Jessup Mill Pond, just east of the Creston Fish Hatchery, along Kauffman Road. Prizes will be awarded for most species, rarest bird(s) and the “best worst” photo. We will also have some exciting raffle items to give away! When you register, you will automatically be given one entry into the raffle being held at the BBQ. Raffle tickets will also be available for purchase at the BBQ and will be $5, 3/$12 or 6/$20, must be present to win. Flathead Audubon will provide burgers and hot dogs. Feel free to bring a potluck item and beverages. Please bring your own plate, bowl and utensils if you are able to.