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Audubon to hold Birdathon in May

In addition to raising scholarship money, proceeds from Audubon Community Nature Center’s 2021 Birdathon will support the Pamela A. Westrom Wildlife Habitat now under construction. As the staff lead for Animal Care, Kimberly Turner is training with live birds of prey in preparation to obtain birds that will live in the new habitat. Here she is holding Ruby, a Red-tailed Hawk at Tamarack Wildlife Center, where Turner has been doing most of her hands-on training. Ruby has an eye injury that has left her unfit to release back into the wild.

Those who can observe and identify wild birds in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus or Erie counties in New York or Warren, Erie, Crawford or McKean counties in Pennsylvania any time during the first nine days of May are eligible to participate in the Audubon Community Nature Center’s 2021 Birdathon.

The annual event has been transformed from a single-day endeavor to see as many bird species as possible to a much broader opportunity with prizes beyond bragging rights.

In addition to raising money for the Ryan Exline Memorial Scholarship being awarded to Tim Galati, a senior at Southwestern Central School, the reimagined event has new incentives and challenges to support the Pamela A. Westrom Wildlife Habitat.

Now under construction, the habitat will have an animal care room and enclosures for three to four new animals. For details visit AudubonCNC.org/PAWWH. The project has inspired Audubon to set a “high-flying” goal to raise $10,000 through the birdathon.

The birdathon takes place May 1-9. The count begins at 12:01 a.m. May 1 and ends at 11:59 p.m. May 9. Participants can form teams of up to six people. Individuals and teams choose either the four-hour or 24-hour birding category.

Participants then collect pledges from friends, family, and community members either online or in person. Pledges can be flat rate or per species. Per species is a small set amount per species of bird found.

Species lists and pledge sheets, with any collected money, need to be returned to Audubon by Tuesday, May 11. Winners of the incentives and prizes will be announced at noon on Thursday, May 13.

Pledgers who donate $500 or more will have their names on the donor board for the Pamela A. Westrom Wildlife Habitat. Pledges can be made through a team or directly at app.99pledges.com/fund/AudubonCNC.

For newcomers to birding, Audubon is offering Learn-to-Bird programs at the Nature Center from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. Monday through Friday during the first week of May. The program is free; pledges to the Birdathon are encouraged. For details, go to AudubonCNC.org and click through “Upcoming Programs.”

The individuals and teams seeing the most species in four or 24 hours will receive a 10-pound bag of Audubon’s own Conewango Blend Birdseed and an ACNC reusable tote bag. The team or individual that raises the most money will receive a framed Audubon Art print by Laura Wilder; one print per team, and the rest of the team members will receive their choice of an unframed print or sticker.

To learn more about, participate in, and/or contribute to ACNC’s 2021 Birdathon, visit AudubonCNC.org/Birdathon.

For any questions, contact Sarah Hatfield at shatfield@auduboncnc.org or 569-2345. For help with registration, call the reception desk at 569-2345.

The Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren. Area residents can visit six miles of trails on the 600-acre nature preserve from dawn to dusk daily.

The Nature Center building includes the Blue Heron Gift Shop, live animals, and the winning photographs from the 2020 Nature Photography Contest.

Visitors are welcome Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is by donation only.

To learn more about Audubon and its many programs, call 569-2345, visit AudubonCNC.org, or find Audubon Community Nature Center on Facebook.

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