Champions of the Flyway: Teams raise record donations


The third annual Champions of the Flyway bird race took place on 29 March around Eilat and the Arava Valley, Israel. The event raised an amazing $70,000 — the highest so far. A total of 39 teams comprising 200 birders from around the world took part, racing against each other and the clock to see who could record the most birds in 24 hours.

This year, funds will be donated to the Hellenic Ornithological Society (BirdLife International Partner in Greece). More than 1 million birds are illegally killed in Greece every year, and money raised by the teams will help support two important projects combating:

  • The illegal shooting and trapping of European Turtle Doves and other migratory species passing through the Greek islands.
  • The illegal trapping of small songbirds for the cagebird black market.

The teams submitted their final counts at midnight on the day and the winners were announced at a special ceremony that took place yesterday, 30 March. The Arctic Redpolls from Finland took the coveted title of Champions for the Flyway 2016; they recorded a huge 174 species. They tweeted "174 species was enough for the 1st place in the race, but 4400 eur was our greatest victory!".

The Arctic Redpolls win the Champions for the Flyway award (Photo: Andy Clements).

North American team The Way-Off Coursers took both the Knights of the Flyway title for sharing information with other participants and Guardians of the Flyway for raising the most money — an astonishing $12,000, the highest amount of any team in the history of the event.

Content continues after advertisements

The Way-Off Coursers receive the Guardians of the Flyway award (Photo: David Callahan).

The Birdwatch-BirdGuides Roadrunners also took part for the third year running and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who donated. Together we have raised more than $6,550 for this deserving cause. Anyone who would like to contribute can still do so at http://www.champions-of-the-flyway.com/birdwatch-birdguides-roadrunners/

The Birdwatch-BirdGuides Roadrunners (from left: David Callahan, Andy Clements, Mike Alibone, Mark Avery)