On Saturday, February 19, 2011, teams of bird enthusiasts will head for the parks, thickets and trails of the Lower Rio Grande Valley to spot as many different species of birds as possible in one day. Serious birders and novices alike will experience fun competition as they venture outdoors to discover and identify birds. The event helps raise funds through pledges and donations to benefit the sustainability of Weslaco’s 15-acre urban habitat and birders’ hotspot: Frontera Audubon.
“This event is an excellent opportunity for both beginning and expert birders who just want to get outdoors and take pleasure in looking for birds and learning how to identify them,” says Frontera’s Board President Jim Chapman. “You will have fun, see lots of birds, gain field identification tips, and raise money for Frontera … all in one day.”
Birders must register and pick up pledge sheets at Frontera Audubon, 1101 S. Texas Blvd. Birding takes place between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 19th. Participants may form their own team with friends, family, neighbors and colleagues. Or, several expert birders have volunteered to join your team to help you identify more birds than you would have thought possible. When birding hours end, free hot dogs, beer, and sodas will be available for all teams at Frontera from 7 to 9 p.m.
Each Birdathon team will solicit pledges for the number of bird species it sees, and the total number of species seen by all teams combined will also be tallied. Proceeds from the Birdathon will be used to keep the Thicket and Visitors’ Center open and support nature programming for members and the public. Teams may choose the geography they wish to cover. A team may bird at the three Weslaco sites: Frontera’s Thicket, the Valley Nature Center, and Estero Llano Grande. Another team may choose to spend the day at Laguna Atascosa or Santa Ana. Some teams may carefully plot a meticulous route and schedule to absolutely maximize the number of species seen. Other teams may decide to bird for three hours and go enjoy lunch!
“The funds garnered through Birdathon and the upcoming Spring Fund Drive will help cover operating expenses of the 15 acre site so that we can continue to offer quality interpretive programs and special events,” says Frontera’s new executive director, Sarah Williams. “The Birdathon is an excellent fundraising event and a great opportunity to support the efforts of Frontera, but it’s also an excellent opportunity for birding novices like myself to see and learn more about the many beautiful species of birds in our area.”