The Potomac Valley Audubon Society (PVAS) is now accepting registrations for its third annual Ruth Ann Dean Birdathon, which will be held the weekend of May 11-12.
The Birdathon is an annual event intended to cap a week of activities commemorating International Migratory Bird Day. It is open to anyone with an interest, regardless of experience or expertise at birding. People can participate as part of a team or as individuals. Either way, the goal is to identify the highest numbers of bird species you can find within PVAS's territory in any 24-consecutive-hour-period during the weekend.
PVAS's territory includes the Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties in West Virginia and Washington County in Maryland.
There is no entry fee, and registration is easy.
To register and to get full information about how the Birdathon works, go to the PVAS website at www.potomacaudubon.org/IMBD.html or contact the event coordinator, Sandy Sagalkin, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 240-291-6465.
This year, those who participate will be encouraged to seek pledges from neighbors and friends to help raise funds for PVAS's Grassland Birds Initiative (GBI).
The GBI seeks to protect the habitat of birds that make their home in grasslands in our area. These birds are declining at a rapid rate and include Eastern Meadowlarks, Loggerhead Shrikes, Eastern Bluebird and other species.
The GBI seeks to work cooperatively with landowners to encourage land management practices that lead to enhanced opportunities for successful nesting. For further information about the GBI, see www.potomacaudubon.org/GBI.
A trophy will be given to the team with the highest number of species identified and other prizes will be awarded to participants for raising money for the GBI. To be eligible for awards or prizes, teams must raise a minimum of $75 for the GBI.
The Birdathon is named in honor of Ruth Ann Dean, who was a founding member and ardent supporter of PVAS, a Board member in the early years, and an avid birder.
Last year's winning Birdathon team was the "White-eyed Weary-o's", who identified 117 different bird species in a 24-hour period. Overall, 149 different species were identified by all participants.