BIRDATHON - when a birder tries to see as many species as possible in 24 hours, while raising money for bird conservation. 

On Sunday May 20th, I set out on bike for what would be an epic birdathon: a day of looking for as many bird species as possible, while raising money for bird conservation. Starting at 2:45 AM, Dick Cannings, Eva Durance, Peter Maser and myself cycled for nearly 110 kilometers throughout the south Okanagan, finishing the day with 135 different bird species recorded. According to long-time south Okanagan birder and biologist Dick Cannings, this was his highest ever species tally on a green big day starting and ending in Penticton.

Our route took us through some of the special “at risk” habitats of the Okanagan Valley, including ponderosa pine forest and sagebrush grasslands. In these habitats we were successful in finding special bird species such as the Flammulated Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Common Poorwill, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Gray Flycatcher, Sage Thrasher, Brewer’s Sparrow, Yellow-breasted Chat and so much more. I hope that these birds will have habitat to return to in the area for all the years to come.

With birds constantly facing threats related to climate change, habitat loss and other changes, its more important than ever that we do our best to protect them. Birds act as environmental indicators, often being the first to respond to changes to our natural world, so its also very important that we study and understand them.

Without nature, people can't exist. Please help me reach my fundraising goal to help work towards a continued future with birds and nature!


-Liron Gertsman

Vancouver, BC