Monday, February 21, 2011

The Raptorthon Challenge

It’s that time of year again. The ponds may still be frozen and the snow may still be lingering in the back yard but birds are moving and some spring watchsites are already out there counting! (See recent hawkwatching reports on This spring, HMANA is celebrating migration with a new kind of Raptorthon event. From March 1 to May 31, 2011 we invite you to join us in finding the best place in North America and best date to find the most species of raptors in a single day. Maybe it’s somewhere in your town or state, or maybe you’d just like to get out for a fun day of birding and see what you find.

Raptorthon is a fun event, much like a regular Birdathon, but focused on raptors. Choose your own date and place, and get sponsors to support your efforts to find as many raptors, (and optionally other bird species) as possible in a 24-hour period. Get together with friends to help you find raptors, or go it alone. All participants get a free Raptorthon T-shirt. Of course, Raptorthon is also designed to raise money – to support HMANA’s and hawkwatchers’ work for raptors and hawkwatching throughout the Americas. It’s a great opportunity to support HMANA programs like HawkCount and RPI as well as your favorite local hawkwatch or conservation organization.

So many hawkwatches are struggling to stay afloat these days and HMANA is always looking for new ways to offer support. Not only can Raptorthon help raise money for your local site but it can also help raise money for the recently-formed HawkWatchFund. The purpose of HMANA’s HawkWatchFund is to provide grants to support hawkwatching and hawkwatch programs. Helping us get this important Fund started, a HMANA Board member has generously offered to match every HawkWatchFund dollar raised! You can learn more about it and how to contribute on the Raptorthon website.

I hope you will join me in our 2011 Raptorthon. If you are unable to take part yourself you can still support HMANA by sponsoring me (or other individuals or teams). Pledge online! I am looking forward to a good list of raptors (and other species) at Pondicherry NWR in New Hampshire on May 14th. (Look on the HMANA web site for more information about my Raptorthon). All forms, detailed instructions and how to sponsor a team are available at: Register today and have fun!

photo: Kiptopeke hawkwatcher, Zak Poulton wearing his Raptorthon T-shirt during his Fall 2010 Event in Virginia.

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