Mass Audubon’s annual Bird-a-thon fundraiser will take place Friday and Saturday, May 10 and 11, when hundreds of birders of all abilities will compete to identify the most species statewide over a 24-hour period.

From Friday at 6 p.m. until Saturday at 6 p.m., two dozen teams will fan out across the Commonwealth from sandy dunes and saltmarshes to fields, riversides, and forested ridgelines. They will be focusing their attention, binoculars, and scopes on birds both familiar and far less common.

Bird-a-thon takes place in the midst of the spring migration when millions of birds are returning to Massachusetts to breed and raise their young or stopping to rest and feed in the Bay State before continuing farther north. During this opportune period, birders can observe species they typically do not see during the rest of the year.

More than 800 people are expected to participate in Bird-a-thon, the biggest single fundraising event of the year for Mass Audubon, the state’s largest nature conservation nonprofit.

Team members raise crucial funds for the respected conservation organization’s sanctuaries and programs in honor of the competitors’ marathon birding efforts. Supporters may donate to teams or to individual birders.

Bird-a-thon Boosters participate by fundraising for their favorite teams. Boosters may bird non-competitively, do their own nature-focused activity, or rally support for those spending long hours in the field.

Last year’s participants raised more than $255,000—the highest amount since the event began in 1983—and identified 275 species, the most ever recorded.

Over the past 36 years, Bird-a-thon supporters have contributed more than $3 million in support of Mass Audubon’s mission to connect people and nature.

“Competing in Bird-a-thon is a perfect way to welcome the spring migration, appreciate the Bay State outdoors, and connect with the natural world,” Mass Audubon President Gary Clayton said.

Sponsors this year include presenting sponsor Comosse Masonry Supply of Worcester and media sponsor public radio station WBUR. To participate, donate, and learn more about Bird-a-thon, visit www.massaudubon.org/birdathon.

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