Audubon Calling for Teams for Ambitious May Birdathon

Liberty, Audubon Community Nature Center’s non-releasable Bald Eagle, is looking forward to her aviary being spruced up for the celebration in June of the 20th anniversary of her arrival at Audubon. Part of the funds raised at Audubon ’s annual May Birdathon will support this project.

The Audubon Community Nature Center will hold its annual Birdathon starting April 29.

The Birdathon will raise money for the Ryan Exline Memorial Scholarship, a new home for Audubon’s snapping turtle and updates to the aviary and prep-room for Liberty, the non-releasable Bald Eagle. There is no fee to participate.

Gather a friend or two and sign up as a team to spend up to 24 hours birding from noon Friday, April 29, through May 8 at 11:59 p.m. for this year’s Birdathon. Teams gather pledges by sharing the link to the Birdathon website, Go.RallyUp.com/ACNCBirdathon.

Those who aren’t birders can visit the website and support a team or just make a donation. Donors can contribute based on the number of birds seen or by making a flat contribution towards the cause.

This year’s “Top Birders” will receive special recognition through ACNC’s e-newsletter. Prize packages and awards will be given out to the teams that see the most birds, raise the most money, or have the most unusual sighting.

The Ryan Exline Memorial fund is a long-time beneficiary of the Birdathon. Exline was an integral part of the Audubon family for many years until he was tragically killed in an auto accident during his junior year at Duke University. Each year this fund, created in his memory, provides a $500 scholarship to a college-bound high school student or a college student who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in an environmental field.

Even though it will be designed and constructed in-house by staff members and volunteers, a new habitat for ACNC’s Snapping Turtle will cost close to $4,000. More than 15 years ago Snapper was found as a hatchling on a scorching hot parking lot and was immediately presumed dead. He was later revived in some water and has been alive and well ever since as part of Audubon’s Animal Ambassadors program. That tiny turtle is now fully grown and much too large for the aquarium where he currently resides.

Liberty, ACNC’s resident Bald Eagle, will be celebrating her 20th anniversary at Audubon this June. Her aviary was built in the early 2000s by dedicated volunteers who put a great deal of time and energy into the construction process. After 20 years, the Birdathon will support some new perches, boards, and other items to help spruce up the aviary in preparation for Liberty’s anniversary celebration.

In 2021, teams raised more than $7,000 that went towards the scholarship and the new wildlife habitat completed last summer. Be sure to check out the Birdathon website to see what teams are participating this year.

To participate in or contribute to the 2022 Birdathon, go to Go.RallyUp.com/ACNCBirdathon.

For any questions, contact Jeff Tome, Audubon public engagement specialist, at JTome@AudubonCNC.org or 716-569-2345. For help with registration, call the reception desk at 716-569-2345.

Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren. Dawn to dusk daily you can enjoy the six miles of trails and outdoor Nature Play Area and view Liberty, Audubon’s non-releasable Bald Eagle, all for free.

The three-story Nature Center building houses interactive displays, a collection of live animals including the Hellbender exhibit, the 2021 Nature Photography Contest winners, and the Blue Heron Gift Shop. Visitors are welcome Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sundays, 1 to 4:30 p.m. Nature Center members and SNAP/EBT cardholders have free building admission daily. Building admission is also free every Sunday for non-Nature Center members.


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