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Birdathon 2013 a Soaring Success!

We met the Robidoux challenge and earned more than $30,000 for Eastside Audubon!

By Andy McCormick, President and Birdathon Chair


A big THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this year’s Birdathon such a great success. That includes everyone who sent a donation to support a team, did their own Birdathon, or went on a field trip or attended the Birdathon Kickoff Party, and all of those who asked their friends and family members to support Eastside Audubon.

Another big THANK YOU goes out to our field trip leaders, to Tim Hall for his songs and music at the kickoff event, to three board members who stepped up and served on the Birdathon Committee: Mary Brisson, Linda Gresky, and Shane Egeland. And another to Zoe Allen in the office, who logged in all the donations.

American Kestrel by Mick ThompsonAnd to the Robidoux Foundation

A grateful big THANK YOU goes out to the Melody S. Robidoux Foundation for making its challenge grant and matching the first $15,000 we have raised. The foundation is a philanthropic organization created by its namesake. Her husband, Mick Thompson, serves on the foundation board and is the EAS chapter photographer. With their generous matching grant, our 2013 Birdathon will have raised more than $30,000!

As I write this there are still donations coming in, so we’ll let you know the final total when we get everything tallied.

New Activities and Personal Birdathons

This year’s Birdathon was marked by new ideas:

  • The Birdathon Kickoff Party featured great songs by Tim Hall and delicious food, and it set the tone for other fun activities. The chapter held its first Birding by Bus event with The Greener Herons, coordinated by Shane Egeland and co-led by Andy McCormick.
  • EAS teamed up with Omega Photo in downtown Bellevue for a sold-out bird photography class taught by Larry Engles and Dan Streiffert, and Omega Photo pledged half of the registration fees to Birdathon.
  • Linda Gresky developed a scavenger hunt for common neighborhood birds. We introduced it at Juanita Bay Park at a celebration of International Migratory Bird Day coordinated by the Youth Education Committee, and it will remain a family staple on our website.

Several people organized personal Birdathons:

  • Richard Rowlett donated $1 for each bird species he spotted and an additional 1 cent for each additional bird of the species.
  • Dora Rajkhowa took her family on a bird walk at Ocean Shores, donating and earning pledges for each species they saw.
  • Jim Rettig, the chapter’s perennial leader in Birdathon fundraising, took himself on a personal birding trip to Oregon and earned more than $3,000 in pledges for the species he found.
  • I led our chapter’s first-ever Dawn Chorus walks at Marymoor Park and Mercer Slough Nature Park.

Traditions Hold

This year we had two traditional Birdathon teams: The Whidbey Wing Dings led by Hugh Jennings saw 118 species, and the Karismatic Kestrels led by Andy McCormick saw 110 species. Both teams had many donors for their big day trips, but the final accounting has yet to tell which team earned more in pledges.

Birdathon was a lot of fun, and I’m grateful for everyone who pitched in to help make it such a success. While this year’s Birdathon is fresh in your mind, please use the energy to think up a good plan for your 2014 Birdathon.


Photo: American Kestrel, by Mick Thompson

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The mission of Eastside Audubon is to protect, preserve and enhance natural ecosystems and our communities for the benefit of birds, other wildlife and people.