Every spring Central New Mexico Audubon Society sponsors the Birdathon as the major fundraiser of the year. The goal of a Birdathon is to see as many bird species as possible in a 24-hour period while raising money for a special cause. Each team member raises money, and other CNMAS members are encouraged to donate money to support the team in its effort to reach the financial goal for the chosen project. Donors either pledge an amount per species or donate a set amount in support of a team. If you would like to join a team and/or donate please contact the team leader. If you would like to create your own Birdathon team contact the CNMAS President for more information.

Due to the COVID-19 health threat, CNMAS is following guidelines issued by the National Audubon Society and suspending all group activities until further notice. This includes outside and indoor activities.


May 14-15, 2020

The Thursday Birders are planning a 24-hour Birdathon in the Truth or Consequences area on May 14 and 15, 2020. They hope to see as many bird species as possible since each species represents a monetary amount that each participant will donate to the recipient of this year’s Birdathon effort, the Whitfield Wildlife Conservation Area in Belen. Whitfield is a project of the Valencia Soil and Water Conservation District. The money raised will be used for their school and summer Ranger Programs, and for a stipend for a college intern for the 2020-2021 school year. We heard a wonderful story when the Thursday Birders were there in January; after visiting Whitfield with his class, one Los Lunas High School student talked to Allison Martin, the Education Manager, and said the visit had “changed his life”. He has now conducted a clean-up project and started a recycling program. He wants to be a marine biologist! Last year, Allison visited 17 schools and saw 3,000 students through various programs. 1,500 students visited Whitfield. Think how many young lives from Valencia County have been impacted by Whitfield and its staff and how many more will have contact with WWCA in the future.

The Thursday Birders will have a team of approximately 30 people contributing time and money to the Birdathon, but all Central New Mexico Audubon Society members may help monetarily. You may contact the leader, Rebecca Gracey ( with your pledge per bird species, and she will contact you after May 15 to tell you how many species were seen.

One may donate money online at the CNMAS homepage, by clicking on the donation link and including a comment that the donation is for the Birdathon. If you prefer sending a check, make it out to CNMAS and put “Birdathon” in the memo line. The CNMAS mailing address is PO Box 30002, Albuquerque, NM, 87190.

Thursday Birders Team

May 2-3, 2019

The 20 members of the Thursday Birder Vermilion Flycatcher Team conducted a 24-hour Birdathon on May 2 & 3, 2019, to raise money for the preservation of the Belen Marsh in Belen, NM. Being considered for development into an expanded parking area in 2008 by the the Valencia County Fair Association owners, CNMAS and local residents of Valencia County intervened to preserve the wetland habitat. CNMAS and local residents conduct bi-yearly clean-ups of the marsh and continue to advocate for keeping the marsh as a habitat for ducks, shorebirds, and other birds. And the good news, $3,017.00 was raised through the Birdathon.

The team picked the Pecos River Valley for their Birdathon location. The base for the team was a birding hot spot itself, the Washington Ranch. At the ranch, some participants stayed in rooms and cabins and others were in their RVs or tents. The original plan to head out to nearby Slaughter Canyon early in the morning of the Birdathon was postponed when gale force winds began to rage about 5:15 a.m. The next step was to postpone the start of the Birdathon for a few hours, when we were able to find locations sheltered from the wind but still active with birds. The wind kept up all day, decreasing very gradually in the afternoon. The second hot spot we visited was nearby Rattlesnake Springs where the Vermilion Flycatchers were abundant and abundantly beautiful. The third hot spot, Slaughter Canyon, was visited late that afternoon and again early the next morning. The weather for the morning trip was ideal and so were the birds. The team was delighted to have counted 93 species by 9:30 a.m. on May 3 in spite of the terrible wind the previous day. The 93 species included four Bunting species: Lazuli, Indigo, Varied, and Painted Buntings, four Oriole species: Orchard, Hooded, Bullock’s and Scott’s Oriole, and four Vireo species: Bell’s, Gray, Plumbeous, and Hutton’s Vireos.

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