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🦉 Birdathon 2023 fundraiser for bird and habitat conservation 🦆

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

The official image of the 2023 Portland Audubon Birdathon, a brown and white spotted owl sitting on the top of a pine tree.

For the second year in a row, I am excited to take part in the Portland Audubon Society's annual Birdathon fundraiser for wildlife care, habitat conservation, and outreach. My team is called "I ❤️ Big Bubos" (bubo is the genus for horned owls and eagle-owls such as snowy owls and great horned owls; last year I was with the Millennial Falcons). Our ragtag group will be heading out the weekend of May 12th to observe as many species of birds we can along with several other teams working toward a shared goal of raising $175,000!

What's my birding story?

Image of the front cover of the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. A dark blue book with a large solid white illustration of the outline of a seagull flying. The title of the book is in yellow text.

As an Oregonian, I live in an amazing year-round hotspot for avifauna. But birds have always held a special place in my heart, especially growing up in Florida with its wide range of aquatic and land birds. My first tattoo, which I got when I turned 18, was an illustration from the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I also have a very colorful hummingbird tattoo, and future plans to get one of my flamingo stuffed animal, Birdie, which my mom bought me when I was about 6 years old. If I were in the Harry Potter universe, my Patronus would definitely be some kind of bird (which, don't forget, are descended from dinosaurs!)

I officially became a bird nerd in 2019 when my dad convinced me to get a feeder for the backyard: a Squirrel Buster Plus, which holds five pounds of seed and regularly attracts lesser goldfinches, black capped chickadees, house finches, various types of sparrows, red breasted nuthatches, and the occasional Townsend's Warbler. When the squirrels try to get into it, it has a mechanism that flings them off and yes, it's quite entertaining. Since then, I've added additional backyard habitat features and feeders, like suet and shrubs, attracting birds like California Scrub Jays, Bewick's Wrens, Anna's hummingbirds, and a rare Nashville Warbler (third ever county observation for this time of year!)

An image of Amy Santee looking at birds through some green binoculars. She is a younger white woman in her 30s, with brown and pink hair, a colorful floral shirt, dark plastic eye glasses, a green watch, and a pink and red chrysanthemum tattoo on her upper arm. She is standing in front of the blue Columbia river with a blue sky and green grass in the background.
One of the good habits I formed during the pandemic! Taken in summer 2020, Portland, Oregon

In 2020, as the pandemic set in, I began venturing around Portland and the larger Oregon/Washington area on road trips mostly for the purpose of birding. I traded in my amateur binoculars for a pair that blows the old ones out of the water (how did I even see anything?!) Last year I spent a few days birding in Colorado, and just this April, I went on a 10-day, prime-time Spring migration birding adventure in southeast Arizona, where I observed a total of 139 species, including 57 lifers (birds I have never seen before).

An image of Amy Santee holding a pair of green binoculars. She is a younger white woman in her 30s, is wearing a medium green hat with a quail on the front, a black t-shirt with the moon on it, dark plastic circular eye glasses, and a green watch. She is standing in front of a bird blind at a wetlands habitat in Tucson Arizona. She is smiling but not showing her teeth.
Binoculars power-up! Taken in April 2023, Tucson, Arizona

Show your support for all birdkind!

Channeling my inner Bernie Sanders (or should I say Birdie Sanders?), I am asking for your support for this year's Birdathon with a tax deductible donation of any amount.

The easiest way to contribute is to go directly to my pledge page via the following link:

And thank you! 🦩 🦉 🦅 🦢 🦚 🦆 🪶


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