Great Wisconsin Birdathon 2019
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Goal $5,000.00


The River Raptors (formerly Madison Green Team)

Dip him/her in the river, he/she who loves water - William Blake

This is the third year for The River Raptors!  In 2017, veteran Wisconsin birder Sumner Matteson hatched a variation of a GOGREEN theme for NRF’s Great Wisconsin Birdathon:  The River Raptors use only kayaks and/or canoes to identify and tally Wisconsin birds to raise money for NRF’s Bird Protection Fund.  (This year’s birdathon is dedicated to the memory of James T. Harris, longtime bird enthusiast and naturalist, who passed away in fall 2018.)

The River Raptors utilize the skills and talents of small sub-teams across the state to document bird species along favorite rivers or streams, from the Namekagon and Bois Brule rivers of the far north to the Kinnikinnic River of the far west to the Yahara River of the far south. “Over the years, we hope to bird a growing number of Wisconsin’s rivers and streams … all for bird conservation,” he said.

The River Raptors has a goal of raising $5,000 for The Bird Protection Fund in 2019.

Matteson has identified 10 sub-teams (2-5 individuals per sub-team) who will be participating in 2019, with May or June dates of their canoe/kayak trips yet to be determined. 

Conducting a “Green” birdathon has some benefits and drawbacks, Matteson says. “We don’t get as many bird species as our gas-guzzling counterparts,” he says. “But we may get more bird species per square mile of effort.  And we have a wonderful opportunity to get to know our rivers and streams in a unique way.”

Pledges raised during the birdathon will be directed to these projects:   

  • Wisconsin’s Second Breeding Bird Atlas – Entering its final year, this is a vast citizen-based documentation of all of Wisconsin’s breeding birds.
  • Bird City Wisconsin – Initiative to deliver bird conservation and education resources to over 100 Wisconsin communities.
  • Surveys of Colonial Waterbirds -  Focus in 2019 will be on southeastern counties to document the abundance, distribution, and habitats of endangered terns, grebes, and the black-necked stilt.
  • Conservation of federally endangered Kirtland’s Warblers, Piping Plovers, and Whooping cranes.
  • Neotropical Flyways Project – Locate and protect migratory stopover habitat for several Wisconsin bird species.
  • Local bird conservation and education activities across Wisconsin.
  • Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory - Shorebird and Waterbird Surveys on Lake Michigan. 
If you are unable to donate online, please click here for the offline donation form.


  • Paul (about a day ago)

    Go Sumner! See you July 1 for Tern Banding!

  • Geri (about 3 days ago)

    Teen banding trip July 9

  • Mark (about a week ago)


  • Anonymous (about a month ago)

    one two three

  • Irene (about a month ago)

    Love these projects!

  • Steve (about a month ago)

    really appreciate the team's willingness to get out in the natural areas by foot, boat and bike!

  • Steve (about a month ago)

    MN Sumner, may the waterbirds be with you! Good luck, and thanks for all you do for bird conservation.

  • Robert (about a month ago)


  • Owen (about a month ago)


  • Benjamin (about a month ago)


  • Inga (about a month ago)

    Thanks for keeping an eye on Wisconsin birds! I remember Jim Harris and his dedication to birds.

  • Sarah (about a month ago)

    thanks for your commitment, have fun and stay dry !

  • Dutton (about a month ago)

    Go for it, Sumner!

  • Adelaide (about a month ago)

    Go River Raptors!!!!

  • Michael (about a month ago)

    Best of luck with the birding! Michael and Mary Ann

  • David (about 2 months ago)

    Watch for a pyrrhuloxia!

  • Erin (about 2 months ago)

    Good luck, Sumner!

My Status
Number of pledges received: 35
Goal achievement: 111%
Number of page visits: 781
Days since event: 11
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