2015 Birdathon Big Day – Payne County, OK

On Saturday, 25 April, the Payne County Audubon Society hosted its annual Big Day competition as part of our two-month effort in April and May to raise the operating funds we’ll use in the coming year. Ideally, teams of birders seek pledges from donors for each species identified, so $0.50/bird would amount to a $50 donation for a team that found 100 species.

Screen shot 2015-05-31 at 9.14.47 AM

There are three ways that an event like this can raise money: a small number of birders can raise a lot of money, a large number can raise a little, or a large number can raise a lot. Historically, our Birdathon involved a small number of people who raised a lot of money, but that’s getting harder to do with each passing year. I have been trying to get more people involved so that we can make up the difference with a large number of teams competing, with each one raising a little bit of money. I’d love to be working toward the “large number gets big money” but progress is slow.  For now, I’m delighted that we had a bunch of people in the field all day on Saturday, when I’m sure they had other things they could have and maybe should have been doing.  If you’re impressed with the effort reported here, please feel free to show your support here.  ANY amount is appreciated!

Here’s how the day went, at least for my team . . .

From the gorgeous subtle beauty of the Milky Way before dawn to the warm long shadows of the setting sun at dusk, 14 teams enjoyed a glorious day in Payne County for the 2015 Big Day.  My hat is off to the students who invested so much of their precious weekend time in what was for them an optional, self-directed, marathon field trip.

I am so proud of all the students and others who participated in the 2015 Audubon Big Day! Congrats to Maycee Goza (and her canine pal, Gemma) who won in the non-motorized category with 32 species, and to team Macawsome (Kelly Boyer, Eric Duell, Emily Sinnott, Talia Branham, and Lisa Elizondo) as the overall winners with an amazing 125 species on the day! The award for best team name went to the Inglorious Bustards (David O’Dell, Abby Randle, Zac Hemans, and Evan Flanagan). Needless to say, a fun time was had by all, and I doubt the students will ever forget it.


missing: team procrastiNATION’s 32 species and team Awesome’s 60!

DSCF7962 DSCF7963 DSCF7965 DSCF7969 DSCF7973 DSCF7977

Here is a list of the 107 species we found on team Steve.  We weren’t Macawsome, but we had a good day nonetheless:

Canada Goose
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Hooded Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Northern Bobwhite
Wild Turkey
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Swainson’s Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Upland Sandpiper – flyover before the team was fully assembled so it didn’t make our official list.

Spotted Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper
Wilson’s Snipe
Franklin’s Gull
Forster’s Tern
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove
Greater Roadrunner
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker  – apparently nesting in the Lewis’s Woodpecker tree at Lake Carl Blackwell.
American Kestrel
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Western Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Loggerhead Shrike – Teal Ridge!
White-eyed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Purple Martin
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Carolina Wren
Bewick’s Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Brown Thrasher
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Louisiana Waterthrush  – the pinnacle of avian evolution
Black-and-white Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Harris’s Sparrow
Summer Tanager
Scarlet Tanager – My first ever in Payne County, OK!  The bird flew into the Lewis’ Woodpecker tree at Lake Carl Blackwell, sang once, and flew right over our heads heading northwest.  We clearly saw the deep red underparts, relatively short black tail, and whitish underwings of an alternate-plumaged male.

Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Common Grackle
Great-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Bonus material – images from my chestboard cam (Yes, I strapped a trail cam to my chest and walked around like that for a few hours):

1331:042515:81F:CAMERA2   :21254:042515:83F:CAMERA2   :2

1335:042515:88F:CAMERA2   :2 1336:042515:90F:CAMERA2   :2 1336:042515:90F:CAMERA2   :2 1350:042515:97F:CAMERA2   :2 1357:042515:99F:CAMERA2   :2 1401:042515:99F:CAMERA2   :2

This entry was posted in BIRDATHON, birding, birds/nature, life, National Audubon Society and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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