Monday, March 30, 2020

Champions of the Flyway - Celebration Day 2020


Well, we've all come a long way in the last few weeks, but many things – many wonderful things - carry on regardless. One, thank the gods, is bird migration - and birds in general - and despite increasing and necessary restrictions, we're still fortunate to enjoy them in whatever way we can.

Another is Champions of the Flyway. For those of you who aren't familiar with COTF, it's a 24-hour bird race in the Negev Desert, at the end of March every year, that sees teams descend from across the globe; but it's much more than just a sleep-deprived, entertaining Wacky Races-style birding romp – it's the climax of several months campaigning and fundraising to help save migratory birds from needless and often illegal persecution and death.


Every year, Birdlife International chooses a recipient partner with a suitable project on the ground, and Champions rallies to their aid, raising awareness and funds (wonderfully, over half a million dollars thus far). It's an incredible concept involving incredible people and an incredible community which is so much more than the sum of its parts, and you can read more about it here

This year's physical race is off , of course, but we're not letting that stop us celebrating Race Day, and all the hard work and effort put in by the #FlywayFamily across the world – and so this year's race day becomes Celebration Day. We – that's me, you, us, anyone who wants to join in – are birding in solidarity with the cause tomorrow (March 31st), in whatever way possible: that can be for as long or short as required, from a window, garden, rooftop, racing against friends or yourself for a species count – the rules are, there are no rules....


Well, apart from one request – that we all tell the world about what we're doing via social media, and signpost towards Champions and its ethos of saving the migratory birds that are returning to our shores as we speak. To date, and despite all the chaos and cancellations, our Flyway Family for this year's Saving Steppe Eagles campaign have, incredibly, raised over $40,000. Inspirational stuff indeed.

I've decided to go 'circuit birding', strictly within 2 km of my front door, and I'm targeting 50 species.... I've no idea if I'll make it or not, but I'll have fun trying, and I'll keep you updated as it happens on my Facebook and Twitter feeds, as well as blogging about it after the fact. Wish me luck, or bettter still, join me, wherever you are!



So you're very welcome to take part, and celebrate the birds, our conservation efforts, and how lucky we are to still have what we have. Look out for updates from across the globe on our #COTF20 Twitter here and Facebook here, and don't forget to include #COTF20 in your tweets and tag our COTF Facebook page in FB posts.

And if you want to go a step further and encourage donations, we are still gratefully receiving them here -https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cotf20 - every penny goes to saving these majestic, but catastrophically declining birds of prey on their breeding grounds in the Central Asian Steppes.

Stay safe, stay positive and enjoy the birds - GO CHAMPIONS!