A Record Breaking Bird-a-Thon


Marlene was an avid bird watcher. Reprinted from The Artic Warbler, July, 1998:

A Record-Breaking Birdathon

The 1998 Farthest North Birdathon was a tremendous success, with more than 70 people from Fairbanks, North Pole, Paxson and Nenana taking part. Routes covered many parts of the state, including Valdez, Seward, Nenana, Delta and the Dalton Highway. The “Quill Pig Conspiracy” team (so named for the unusually high number of porcupines spotted) shattered the old record of 99 by identifying 107 species in 24 hours of non-stop birding. Team members Philip Martin, Ted Swem, Laurel Devaney and Steve Porter combined skill, pre-Birdathon scouting, intuition, a GPS and a little bit of luck to take home the coveted “Golden Binoculars” award. They were the only birdathoners to see the Sora and Alaska’s first confirmed record of an Eared Grebe. Fortunately, several other teams were also able to add Red-winged Blackbird, Ruddy Turnstone and Least Flycatcher to their lists.

Although ABO’s team, “The Jaegermeisters,” bettered last year’s performance by seven species, we found one species less than “Bunky’s Birders” total of 97 species. We still managed to have a lot of fun, and our team raised over $2,400. The sad thing is that we didn’t see a jaeger until our time had expired, so we rechristened ourselves “The Jaeger-missers.” We’d like to thank Joe Faulhaber for the use of his suburban, Rich Holmstrom for the free lodging at Tangle Lakes Lodge, and the folks who let us visit their homes to view Boreal Owls and Merlins.

We are also grateful for the wonderful prizes donated to the Birdathon, especially Wally and Jerri Cole for the three-night stay at Camp Denali (congratulations to winner Marlene Braun!). Other donors include Alaska Feed Co., The Artworks, Beaver Sports, Big Ray’s, The Binkley Family, Bun on the Run, Ed Clark & Judy Dearborn, Cold Spot Feeds, Ester Hatworks, Food Factory/Jaybird’s Wingworld, Fountainhead Development, Fred Meyer, Hot Licks, Kmart, Pat Pearlman Designs, Q-Lube, Tim Shields, 65th Parallel Woodworks and the Tanana Valley State Fair. Steve Neumuth Advertising was a great sponsor, and we thank Steve for donating the production of a Birdathon commercial and all the media coverage. Finally, we want to thank everyone who participated in the Birdathon and those who made pledges.

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