The final piece of the puzzle to help ensure a food source for tens of thousands of arctic-nesting shorebirds is at hand, as funds raised at this year’s Delaware Bird-A-Thon will go toward protecting, preserving and adding to the critically important habitat of Mispillion Harbor Reserve.
Located on the Delaware Bay seven miles east of Milford, this natural habitat is like no other in the world. Here, the horseshoe crab breeds without interruption, providing a vital food source in the form of eggs to such important species of Arctic-nesting shorebirds as red knots, ruddy turnstones, sanderlings, semipalmated sandpipers, dunlins and short-billed dowitchers.
Sponsored by the Delaware Ornithological Society, the 2019 Delaware Bird-A-Thon will take place Saturday, May 4 to Saturday, May 12, and is open to all, whether they are avid birders or not.
Through an anonymous matching-fund grant of up to $100,000, the formidable goal of raising the necessary funds for the land acquisition is made possible. “We are fortunate to have secured this matching-fund grant which makes every dollar raised worth two dollars,” said Bill Stewart, founder and organizer of the event. The success of this fundraiser will allow DOS and the Conservation Fund to jointly purchase the property and incorporate it into the 74-acre Mispillion Harbor Reserve.
To accomplish this task, the bird-a-thon must have a record-breaking response. “In addition to driving more participation in this year’s Bird-A-Thon, we are making special efforts to generate financial donations from individuals, corporations and organizations who value the importance of conservation in our state,” said Stewart.
“The easiest and most enjoyable way to support DOS is through its annual Delaware Bird-A-Thon, either by participating yourself, or by pledging to someone who is,” said Scott Weidensaul, researcher and author of “Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds,” which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2000.
For more information about participating or donating, go to www.delawarebirdathon.com.
The Delaware Bird-A-Thon is a fundraiser with a concept much like a walk-a-thon. Participants sign up as many sponsors as possible, each making a pledge in a dollar amount for each bird species recorded during a single 24-hour period. Participants can bird anywhere in the state of Delaware. Prizes will be awarded in various categories, including teams for adults, youth, and organizations as well as individuals.
The Delaware Ornithological Society is the area’s leading organization focused on promoting the study of birds, advancing and disseminating ornithological knowledge, and facilitating the conservation of birds and their environment. In addition to the annual Delaware Bird-A-Thon, DOS sponsors many other bird-related activities and trips around the region for birders of all levels.
Founded in 1985, The Conservation Fund is the nation's top private environmental nonprofit organization, having helped save over 8 million acres of land valued at more than $6.3 billion throughout the United States. The focus is on creating as many pathways as possible for people and organizations to protect their natural resources and save the places that matter most – properties with ecological, historic and/or cultural significance.