Raised of $1,000

Based on 67 bird species found while birding-in-place each worth $10.66

Meghadeepa [Birdathon Coordinator]

67/120 bird species found while birding-in-place

May 26-29, 2023

Bittern than walking.

During this Birdathon, you’ll find me perched in several of my favourite, strategically-located, stationary birding spots— at least an hour in each spot. I’m skilled at identifying both breeding birds and migrants by sight and sound, and since my TBI, I’ve adapted my identification techniques and birding habits to be gentle on my body and gentler to the birds. Pacing my energy output and strategizing my understanding of habitat will both be key, and I plan to be stealthy, still and silent to maximize my observations. I bet I’ll find more birds than other local birders do by walking several miles. 🤷🏽‍♀️

Well, don’t be bittern about it! 🤪

Can you pledge $1 per bird species I find, to motivate me on this incredible journey? Any amount you give will mean so much to me! And your support will help provide funding for critical life expenses for asylum seekers like me.

It’s been such an honour to help create the first-ever intentionally inclusive Birdathon for Female Bird Day!

(1) being able to bird safely, on my own terms, while still challenging myself,

(2) sharing bird-joy with community, while not having to mask or code-switch all my intersecting marginalized identities,

(3) innovating creative pathways for including disabled, BIPOC, low-income, queer, immigrant and new birders in our programming,

(4) increasing appreciation for female birds, and

(5) raising awareness of our broken immigration system by sharing my experience as an asylum seeker who’s resided in the United States for 13 years— including my entire adult life— with no authorization to be employed for the majority of this time.

This Birdathon encompasses all these aspects that inspire me every day, and I’m so thrilled we could make it real!

And stay tuned to the @feministbirdclub Instagram channel, where I’ll be sharing updates by livestreaming throughout the event!

I can’t wait for Female Bird Day to come around. I hope you’ll be a part of this campaign too! 🥰

With gratitude,

Meghadeepa (they/them)

Director of Accessibility & Intersectional Community Engagement, Feminist Bird Club


What a wild, wild weekend. This event reminded me how incredibly hopeful, empowered and connected birds can make us feel. I’ve been watching your campaign updates and social media posts, and the abundance of bird-joy is like nothing I’ve ever seen before!

Thank you to each and every one of you, who contributed to or participated in our inaugural Birdathon! With your help, we are at 97% of our fundraising goal— that once upon a time felt ridiculously large?!

This event was the result of the labour of over two dozen individuals!

A few shout-outs for the folks without whom this project just WOULDN’T have become real: Luca Lloyd & Jeremy Spool for coordinating tasks and overseeing staff, Molly Adams for singlehandedly steering the design and merchandise (and for checks on outreach strategy), Caitlyn Schuchhardt for her Birdathon expertise and for encouraging ALL our ambition, and Martha Harbison & Purbita Saha for volunteering their limited time and limitless knowledge.

Our final numbers will be tallied on June 5, at which point we will also be announcing the winners of our prize categories. In the meantime, if you can reach out to one more friend to tell them about this groundbreaking Birdathon, we can easily coast past our goal of raising $20,000 for the Western Mass Asylum Support Network.

Thank you again for being a part of this wonderful and inspiring birding community, and for birding your way to a kinder world this weekend!

💕 Meghadeepa


bird species found while birding-in-place


Per bird species found while birding-in-place



Here’s a preview of my Birdathon trip report!

As with every other day of the event, I didn’t have access to transportation yesterday, and I’m trying to not be too disappointed because I did feel well enough to bike to a nearby lake in the evening. I sat on the fishing pier listening to the birdsong echoing through the hills and felt a little like Cinderella with a deer and a groundhog calmly grazing next to me, and a couple American Redstarts and my first-of-year Yellow-throated Vireos flew right up to me. I crossed the Birdathon finish line with a fantastic Common Nighthawk peeeeenting over just before sunset, which took me by surprise (much like Sunday’s woodcock peents). 🥰

I’m so thrilled we could pull off such a groundbreaking, joyful event— where the vast majority of participants had never even been in a Birdathon before, and everyone seemed to truly embrace the aspects of birding that are most joyful for them! I’ve never really organized anything of this scale before, and I’m so proud of myself and of the rest of my coordinating team. If I have any say in the matter (and I do 😅)— go save the date for a Female Bird Day Birdathon on Memorial Day weekend 2024! 🥲

#FemaleBirdDay #BirdersAgainstBorders #BirdMyWay


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Per bird species found while birding-in-place



Finally made it out birding today! 56 species recorded today in 3 afternoon hours, bringing my total birding-in-place count to 60 species. Most were heard-only; my vision still refuses to comply. Highlights include a Merlin, an Orchard Oriole, three species of swallows, and a Louisiana Waterthrush calling past sunset… and a couple of American Woodcocks that started calling from the tiny parking lot when I was about to head home. They are such silly birds!

I’d already spent an hour birding there, earlier, so I have no qualms about including them in my totals. I’m on the fence about counting a Willow Flycatcher I heard on the way out from another trail, ~500 ft from where I’d been sitting.

I also heard omnipresent, screeching baby birds, and saw a White-tailed Deer and a few birds that I couldn’t count because I wasn’t stationary… including a Peregrine Falcon and Turkey Vultures.

I’ve determined that yesterday’s mystery call was a Least Flycatcher.

An absence of sparrows

I love the term “birding in place” because it’s defined by where you are. Understanding habitat, the predictability of bird behaviour, and the familiar passing of the seasons are all as important as the pictures in your field guide.

I live in the foothills of one of the highest peaks in the area, and being here allowed me to observe White-throated Sparrows transitioning gently from their demure call notes and bubbly roosting calls into a complex, whistling symphony this year.

My White-throated Sparrows have finally departed for higher elevations. My juncos left a little earlier… right after they tentatively began trying to sing.

It’s odd to observe the absence of a familiar species, because you never record it on eBird, and you often can’t recall when they slipped away.

This year, I took my time savouring my last American Tree Sparrow of the season. It was a few weeks ago, and as I watched it foraging in a mixed flock of sparrows, I somehow knew I wouldn’t find another for awhile. There were fewer tree sparrows around this winter, but for some reason they sang a lot more. And I fell in love with those tinkling notes.

I’ll miss dissolving into a thicket and listening to the winter sparrows until we’re all consumed by darkness.


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Per bird species found while birding-in-place



Made it back home to Western Mass. Frustrated that it’s just a new apartment to be stuck in, although I did make it until the end of the driveway today! The road leading up to my neighbour’s house is a tiny strip of woods between two highways. It’s loud, but I mostly just stood at the corner and listened.

I’m tentatively adding 13 new species (24 total today). Additionally, I heard what I think is an unusual Empidonax flycatcher, but I’ll wait for that audio to be verified until I count it. I also saw a large, pale raptor flying through the woods! I’m fairly certain it wasn’t a Sharp-shinned or Cooper’s Hawk, and the way this bird was maneuvering deftly through the sub canopy made me think of the two Buteos that breed in woodlands around here— the Red-shouldered and Broad-winged Hawk. Now, the bird was very pale underneath, so that makes me want to go with Broad-winged. But what if it was an immature Red-shouldered? What if, in the pre-twilight, I mistakenly thought a Barred Owl was a hawk?

For me, the beauty of birding-in-place is in knowing that sometimes the birds come up to you, and at other times they get swallowed by the woods. But you’re just another tree, rooted in place, nonjudgmental as you wait and notice and let some birds go.

Contributions 17

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