Birdathon 2018

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Birdathon 2018 Year of the Bird


Thank you for your interest in Birdathon 2018. The concept of a Birdathon is simple. Participants collect pledges for each species they see. A Birdathon is like a walkathon or a telethon, but the goal is to raise funds for Burroughs by counting birds — as many species as possible — in a 24-hour period.

There are different levels of participation in the Birdathon. Some teams may be enthusiastic and bird for many hours, while some may make it an easy going and social activity by birding for a few hours, stopping for a casual lunch, and then birding some more! There are even teams that are made up of beginners or children. Beginning birders can even attend a Burroughs field trip and count the birds they see for their Birdathon list!

Binoculars Harris SparrowFundraising can be so intimidating, but Birdathon is the perfect fundraiser. Why? Birdathon is the one activity where you raise funds by doing what you love. There’s nothing better than birding to further the mission of Burroughs Audubon Society, which is to promote the appreciation of birds, nature, natural history, education, and the conservation of habitat. Burroughs’ efforts in conservation and education are making great strides – touching the lives of people all over the metro area!

Start small, and work your way up from there. Find five people to sponsor you. Sponsors can pledge a flat fee, or they can pledge an amount per species that you see. Whether someone donates a flat amount of $5, $10, $15, $25, or even $50, or sponsors you for, say, $0.50 per each species, it adds up fast! It’s not uncommon to see at least 60 species at this time of year. A team of five averaging $150 per member adds up to $750!

Passion is a strong and barely controllable emotion, and for many, no better word describes Birdathon! Simply put, collect pledges and bird to your heart’s content. Bird with friends. Bird the places that you love. Get lost in the fun!

Rules for Birdathon are simple:

  • Bird to your heart’s content
  • Bird between April 14 and May 28
  • Bird for any amount of time up to a 24-hour period
  • Bird within a 100-mile radius of Kansas City
  • Teams should consist of at at least two members
  • Each team should assign a team leader
  • Teams should remain together at all times – don’t split up!
  • Each species must be identified by at least two members of the team
  • Only birds found on the ABA checklist should be counted.
  • Birds can be identified by sight or sound
  • Birds counted have be be wild, alive, and unrestrained


  • Keep it casual by birding in the early morning and then go out to lunch!
  • Challenge yourselves and see how many species you can identify in a whole day of birding.
  • Include beginners or youth and share your skills and enthusiasm for this fascinating activity!

Common Questions:

Where is a good place to bird? If you want to stay close to home, city parks, nature centers or botanical gardens have walking trails and good habitat. Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area in Blue Springs, Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center (near UMKC) or the Overland Park Arboretum are examples.
If you wish to travel, Missouri state parks like Weston Bend, Watkins Mill are wonderful. Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge in Mound City, Mo. offers a variety of habitats. Conservation areas like James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area in Lee’s Summit can even be birded by car!

How can I prepare? Get familiar with what you might see by browsing through a bird field guide. Listen to recorded bird vocalizations to help you identify species by sound.
A good pair of binoculars, good hiking shoes, sunscreen, drinking water and lots of insect repellent are smart equipment choices. Plan your Birdathon route by visiting the sites beforehand.


Click here for a Brochure, here for a Bird Checklist, and here for a Pledge Sheet.

Click here for a 2015 article in Greenability about the “Girlie Birders” who over the years have raised more than $11,000 for Burroughs Audubon during Birdathon! We are so grateful for their dedication to this fundraising event each year!

For more information, contact:

Sara Scheil at