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Birdathon 2011!
April 24-May 1: Great Marsh Bird Count
April 30: Birdathon (24 hour event)
May 1: Celebration & BBQ
Come have some fun at Birdathon 2011. Participate in the traditional 24-hour Birdathon event or the Great Marsh Bird Count (or both) and then join us for the Celebratory Get-Together on the final day. Regardless of your level of birding skills, you will find Birdathon a rewarding experience.
The purpose of a Birdathon is to raise funds through birding-related activities. We want to provide opportunities for many people to participate in our event and, in doing so, have lot of fun as well as raise funds to help support Sea & Sage’s programs. The species seen during all our Birdåthon events will be combined to make one big county list. Here is the basic information:
“Great Marsh Bird Count” - Like the Birdathon, this is a fundraiser and it can be competitive, or not; the difference is that this bird count can only be done at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. The Marsh Count runs from Sunday, April 24th to Sunday, May 1st, so you have more choices of which day to choose for your count. Each participant must contribute $5 or have a sponsor who contributes that much or more. You can bird alone or have up to 3 people join you to form your team. Like the Birdathon, teams must bird together in one party and at least 2 members must identify the bird in order to count it. Teams compete in number of species seen and/or amount of money raised.
“Birdathon” - a 24-hour event on Saturday, April 30th. Birding is done by a team of no more than 4 members and can be competitive, or not. The 24-hour period begins at 12:01 am Sat. morning and ends at 11:59 pm Sat. night; of course, few people bird for the entire 24 hour period. Two or more members of the team must see or hear the bird in order to count it. Teams compete in number of species seen and/or amount of money raised.
“Celebration and BBQ at the Marsh” for all participants - Sunday afternoon, May 1st, 3:00 to 6:00 pm. We will share some hot dogs, burgers, cookies, drinks, and stories about our birding adventures, and generally just have a good time together at the Marsh.
Sign up forms are below. We hope you will join in the fun by signing up to take part in these exciting events this year. Hope to see you on the trail to the Marsh, Bolsa Chica, Crescent Bay, Upper Newport Bay, Santiago Oaks, Irvine Regional Park, Peters Canyon, or any other birding spot in Orange County.
2011 Birdathon & Great Marsh Bird Count registration form
For further information about these events, contact:
Great Marsh Bird Count - Nancy Kenyon at or 949-786-3160
Birdathon - Scott Thomas at or 949-293-2915
To join in on the Birdathon "official count" you will need a team of no more than 4, who are williing to get a little crazy about birding, and pick a 24-hour period on, or near, April 30th. The competition is all in fun, but the top teams work pretty hard at it. The county record is 185 birds and each year a few teams get close to that record. We are lucky in most years to have 4 or 5 solid teams that ask their friends, family, co-workers, business associates and acquaintances to support them in their quest. The teams are already lining up for this year's Birdathon event and we are looking forward to a great day of birding.
.If you want to support Birdathon by pledging a donation to one of your favorite birders or a favorite team, please visit this page after April 15th tor a list of the participants and their teams, or check with Nancy Kenyon..on
Birdathon Rules:
1.  All birding is to be done within Orange County and up to 3 miles out in the Pacific Ocean.
2.  All areas birded must be public access.  Birds seen by entering private land not open to all teams, or areas requiring special permission to enter, cannot be counted.
3.  All birding must be done in a single 24-hour period.  Ideally all daylight hours will occur on April 39  (Note that we do bend this rule.  Don't get hung up on the rules.  If you will be birding on a day other than April 30, please let us know.
4.  Only birds on the CBRC list will be counted. 
5.  Teams will consist of no more that 4 persons.
6.  Birders must remain essentially together whilst birding, may use only one vehicle at a time, and may not divide into groups.
7.  For a bird to be counted, it must be positively identified by at least 2 members of the team.  Identification by song or call alone is allowed if 2 or more team members concur.
Birdathon Materials: 
Sign-up Form for all Birdathon events
Sponsor Sheet
Bird Checklist for Orange County
California Bird Records Committee Bird List (official bird list for Birdathon)
Both the Sponsor Sheet and the Bird Checklist are pdf documents. You will need the free Acrobat Reader in order to open the files. Please be patient; sometimes it takes a few minutes to open these documents. I have provided a link to the webpage which lists the CBRC bird list; use this as a guide - it's not a checklist.

Why do we have a Birdathon? 
Neal's article about his Birdathon experiences will explain why we do a Birdathon each year. 
The Morning After
by Neal Anderson

It's Sunday morning.  My legs ache from hiking, my shoulders from carrying an overweight scope.  But my spirit is in heaven.  It's the day after the Birdathon and all is well. 

Friday night and Saturday was my first attempt at a Birdathon and I didn't know what to expect.  Mike and Margaret Smith, our chairpersons for this year's event, found a team that agreed to put up with me for the event, the Wandering Tattlers.  I hope they donít tattle on my ineptitude. 

Saturday night at dusk, we assembled at Irvine Regional Park to look for owls, nighthawks and poorwills, in addition to whatever might show up. The five target species that my teammates wanted to find all showed up, so it looked like we were off to a good start. 

Sunday morning we were to rendezvous at Audubon House at 5:15 AM, an ungodly hour.  With my excitement, I couldn't sleep and got to Audubon House a half hour early.  And I wasn't the first one there!  Susan and Nancy finally showed up at the appointed time and told me we couldn't count the birds that I had already identified.  It seems like at least two members of the team needed to identify the little critters.  My first lesson.  Off we went to Newport Pier for pelagic species.  Again, we weren't the first team there.  Next, we traveled down the coast to look for cormorants and a Wandering Tattler.  Again we had success. 

Up and down the coast we traveled.  Back and forth from the coast to the foothills, always in search for something on our list or for something new, we raced against the clock.  By dusk, I was exhausted, so too were my teammates, but we had fun. 

Would I do it again?  You better believe it.  I canít wait for next year's Birdathon to start.  Maybe then I will be able to contribute a little bit more to a team.  Some of you may wonder what the Birdathon is all about.  Itís an event sponsored by National Audubon as a fundraiser.  Local Audubon Chapters can participate in the event if they so choose.  There are specific rules and  regulations, such as the number of members in a team, the method of counting species, the species allowed to be counted, the time allowed, and the areas that can be investigated. The Birdathon happens to be one of our biggest and most successful fund raising events of the year. We get to compete on a national basis with other chapters of similar size for prestige and prizes... Since  this event is sponsored by National Audubon, fifty percent of all moneys collected must go to National to support their conservation and education programs. However, as a Chapter, we get to specify how our contribution is to be used.  In the past, we have elected to have National's portion be used to support Starr Ranch, which is located here in Orange County. For the many of you who have visited the Ranch, you know that our contribution is well spent. 

So (this) year, when the Birdathon rolls around, I will be there and hope to see you there (also). If you canít participate in the challenge of identifying species, please participate by sponsoring a team.  Your donations go a long way in supporting our programs here in Orange County.

Webmaster's Note: This article was written many years ago after a first Birdathon experience. I've kept it to rerun because Neal did such a great job describing his feelings as a new member of our team as well as explaining what Birdathon is all about.  Since that first year, Neal has developed into an experienced birder who is especially good at spotting and identifying those partial views one gets of "good" birds which are always lurking in the vegetation. I hope you will experience enough of the excitement of the event, after reading this article, to want to try it yourself this year. 


Sea & Sage Audubon Society
PO Box 5447 • Irvine, CA 92616 • 949-261-7963