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The ABA-Leica Wheatears on Champions of the Flyway Race Day

The 2018 edition of the Champions of the Flyway, the bird race and conservation fundraiser held in southern Israel for the last 5 years, was exceptional for a few different reasons. For starters, the teams competing raised nearly $100,000 to go towards BirdLife International subsidiaries in Serbia and Croatia to help combat illegal bird hunting and trapping, the most money raised yet.

Second, the ABA got involved for the first time, sponsoring a team of college aged birders, all with backgrounds in ABA Young Birder programs and camps. And, because of various logistical coincidences, ABA President Jeffrey Gordon, Events Coordinator Liz Gordon, and I were able to join them as well, making for the ABA’s largest presence in one of the Old World’s most impressive gathering of birders.

The ABA-Leica Subadult Wheatears finished with 147 species and over $5500 raised, impressive totals for a first attempt in a difficult competition. I had the pleasure of driving them on race day and checked in at various points along the road. Follow along with our day!

Thanks to everyone who donated, and a special thanks to Jonathan Meyrav at Champions of the Flyway and Jeff Bouton of Leica Sports Optics for all they did to help get the wheatears to the starting line.

Keep an eye out for more wheatears content in the near term, including an upcoming episode of the American Birding Podcast dedicated to race day and their experience.

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
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