Sunday, January 22, 2017

Champions of the Flyway 2017: out of the blocks

2017's Champions of the Flyway event is out of the blocks and beginning to pick up steam as the race day of 28th March approaches. If you've heard of it - and hopefully many in the birding community have - you'll know that it's a brilliantly orchestrated, fantastically co-operative and (here's the bit that really matters) supremely successful fundraising exercise, with all profits feeding directly into on-the-ground efforts to combat and alleviate the illegal killing of migratory birds.

It's been running for several years, with each year channelling funds into a different countries' efforts to fight the slaughter - this year's recipients are Doğa Derneği (BirdLife Turkey). A fuller explanation of their amazing work and projects is available here, but in a nutshell, they'll be using the COTF funds to fight persecution on the ground at migration bottlenecks, to foster engagement and ownership via various education projects, and to forge strong links and launch awareness projects with Syrian refugees. Fantastic.

The race itself, while hotly contested, is an anomaly among bird races, in that the teams readily share information and actively help each other; however, such an approach is indicative of an event which has fund-raising as its one and only Modus operandi. It's for this reason (and the fact that, last year alone, the race teams raised over £80,000 for the cause) I'm always more than happy to cough up a bit of cash to one or more of the teams involved. This year is a little different, however, in that I'm very lucky to be participating directly, as part of the Birdwatch-Birdguides Roadrunners team.

My team-mates are the wonderful Dawn Balmer and the COTF old hand & logistics wizard Mike Alibone, so I'm in illustrious company. What I lack in comparative illustriousness I intend to make up for in arm-twisting cash-conversion for the cause, so that's where i need your help, dear reader. Throw me a bone, in the form of a very-quick-and-easy-to-part-with sliver of your disposable income, via our just giving page here, and I'll be forever in your debt. Which is no bad thing, especially if you ever need to call a favour in.