Amos Butler Audubon Society Birdathon Team Guidelines

2020  Competitive Teams Adjusted Rules for COVID-19

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, ABAS urges all Birdathon team members to use extra safety measures to ensure their health by practicing social distancing while doing a Big Day event. We strongly encourage teams to follow the guidelines we all learn about from the CDC, State of Indiana, and other government entities. We know recommended restrictions may increase, and will eventually decrease. Therefore for competitive teams, some of the rules are being modified.

  • Teams should travel in separate vehicles while heading to the same designation at the same time.
  • Two team members must see the bird to be counted, but the two members can be in different vehicles.

We hope that the situation improves and the level of donations is stable. This will allow the annual Birdathon celebration, scheduled for September 13, to be held as usual.

Noddy Little Gulls
Noddy Little Gulls2019 Fundraising Champions
Thanks to the team and donors!

Birdathon Pledges

The Amos Butler Audubon Society (ABAS) Birdathon is an event with the purpose of raising funds to benefit our central Indiana migratory and breeding birds. Teams are required to develop a sponsor list with at least five additional sponsors and collect pledges with a minimum of $100 in donations (your own pledge counts toward your $ total). Personalized pledge sheets will be provided upon request from the Birdathon Chair. It is very important that complete mailing addresses be supplied for each sponsor. If the sponsor is agreeable, ask for an email address as well. This information will only be used for the purpose of mailing a solicitation brochure, a thank you report, and an invitation to the Birdathon Celebration (for those donating $100 or more). Each team member is responsible for collecting the pledges from their sponsors. Pledges are to be sent to the Birdathon Chair by June 15.

The Big Day Event Species Count Rules

All Teams:

  • All teams are required to follow the Birding Code of Ethics (provided by the ABAS Birdathon chair).
  • All Big Day species counts must be conducted between the official dates of April 15 to May 31.
  • The count must be conducted within the state of Indiana and during a single, contiguous 24-hour period (which may span two days).
  • Birds must be alive, wild and unrestricted. Injured birds may be counted if wild and unrestrained. Eggs, ornamental waterfowl, and or escaped birds can not be counted.
  • All pledges must be collected and turned in to ABAS Birdathon chair by June 15th.
Dunes Day Birders
Dunes Day Birders2019 Species Count Champions
135 Species!

Species-Count Competitive Teams:

  • Two or more participants constitute a team. Birds must be identified by at least two team members. All team members must stay within hearing distance of each other at all times. Individuals may participate on more than one team.
  • Birds may be identified by either sight or sound.
  • The official species count list is Don Gorney’s Checklist of Indiana Birds (provided by the Birdathon chair).
  • A preliminary count should be emailed to the Birdathon chair ( within one week following the team’s Big Day event.
  • The results of teams desiring to compete using American Birding Association (ABA) rules will be accepted by the Birdathon as the ABA rules are more stringent than the ABAS rules.

Scouting areas a day or two before the event may increase your chances of success. Experienced team members are always willing to provide tips on timing, routes, and birding hot spots. Team expenses (example: gas, food, lodging, car rental) may be paid by ABAS or may be turned in as an inkind contribution. For expenses to be paid, the team’s fundraising must exceed the cost of expenses. Expenses or in-kind contributions will be reviewed for approval by the Birdathon chair and an executive committee. In-kind contributions will be added the team’s fundraising total, expenses will be deducted.

Birdathon Thank You Report

Teams who raise $100 or more per member are asked submit a brief report of their event (200-300 words) and provide a team photo (preferably digital). This report should include highlights of the day, humorous happenings, the date, number of species seen, and a thank you to the team’s sponsors. Reports are due to the Birdathon chair by June 30. These reports will be included in a thank you brochure sent to everyone who has made a donation to the ABAS Birdathon.

Birdathon Celebration Party

All team members, volunteers and major donors will be invited to and honored at a Birdathon celebration party. The party has most recently been held on a Sunday afternoon at the Eagle’s Crest in Eagle Creek Park in late September. A brunch will be provided. Team members and volunteers who have raised $100 or more by actively soliciting five or more pledges will receive special recognition and a gift bag. A silent auction will be held at the party giving guests the opportunity to bid on a variety of items.

For more information, contact:

Donna McCarty
Amos Butler Audubon Society Birdathon Chair
7492 Runningbrook Ct
Indianapolis, IN 46254

A PDF document of the Birdathon team guidelines is available HERE