Friday, May 18, 2007

Mac's Pack--an inspiring story

Mac's Pack--Joe, E.J., Kathleen with 8/9ths of an unseen future Macpacker, and Lyla McAdams

This year E.J. McAdams, formerly the executive director of the NYC Audubon and now with The Nature Conservancy, participated in NYCA's fundraising event, the City Birding Challenge. He wrote to say that he was planning to take the Challenge under the name Mac's Pack with his entire family participating. Who could resist such a wonderful endeavor? I pledged $1 for each bird they saw that day, but added an additional incentive for the kids. I offered $1.50 for the birds Joe, age 7, spotted, and $2 for Lyla's finds. Lyla is 5. Here's E.J.'s letter with the results.

Dear Marie,

Thank you for supporting Mac’s Pack this year on our quest to spot 30+ species and raise over $1,500. We were successful on both counts!!

Despite Lyla’s (age 5) dream of swarms of starlings the night before, which I assumed was a bad omen, Saturday was a peak migration day in Central Park. Every oak in the Ravine in the North Woods seemed to have another migrant flitting in its branches.

The kids really participated this year. Joe and Lyla brought their own Central Park field guides and identified the birds they knew. Those extra eyes made the difference – we saw 36 species and we did not finish in last place!! We came in seventh out of eight teams. The winning team, the Boroughing Owls, saw or heard 147 species in the 24 hour period. Who would have thought NYC has so much bird diversity.

Although the final results won’t be in until the end of June, it looks like Mac’s Pack took the lead in fundraising for the Challenge. Thanks to your generosity we raised over $3,000 for NYC Audubon and its mission to protect the wild birds of New York City.

Marie, we couldn't have done it without you. Your challenge added a whole new level of fun and incentive. The kids got excited about the extra pledge and they did spend some time preparing. Joe in particular had to practice patience, giving Lyla first chance to name a bird before he named it. It was hard for him but he did a good job.

To fulfill your pledge, which I calculated as $42.50 (see list below and please double-check), please send a check made out to NYC Audubon with “Mac’s Pack” in the memo line to:

City Birding Challenge (Mac’s Pack)
c/o NYC Audubon
71 West 23rd Street, #1523
New York, NY 10010

Note from Marie: Though this website shuns ads and commercial messages, [except for myself, I guess] here's one I can include without a guilty conscience:

If the McAdams' family birding adventure inspires you as much as it did me, you can add to their total, [and support the worthy NYC Audubon, by sending a check to the address above. I believe that getting kids involved with nature at an early age is a crucial conservation goal. They will be the wildlife stewards of the future.

Here's the Mac Pack bird list:

Double-crested Cormorant (E. J.)
Great Egret (E.J.)
Black-crowned Night-heron (Joe)
Canada Goose (E.J.)
Mallard (Lyla)
Red-tailed Hawk (Joe)
American Kestrel (E. J.)
Herring Gull (E. J.)
Rock Pigeon (Lyla)
Chimney Swift (Joe)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (E. J.)
Eastern Kingbird (E.J.)
Warbling Vireo (E. J.)
Blue Jay (E. J.)
Carolina Wren (E. J.)
Swainson’s Thrush (E. J.)
American Robin (Joe)
Gray Catbird (Kathleen)
European Starling (Lyla)
Northern Parula (E. J.)
Chesnut-sided Warbler (E. J.)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (E. J.)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (E. J.)
Black and white Warbler (Kathleen)
American Redstart (E. J.)
Ovenbird (E. J.)
Northern Waterthrush (E. J.)
Common Yellowthroat (Joe)
Hooded Warbler (E. J.)
Canada Warbler (E. J.)
Scarlet Tanager (E. J.)
Northern Cardinal (Kathleen)
Red-winged Blackbird (Joe)
Common Grackle (Joe)
Baltimore Oriole (E. J.)
House Sparrow (Lyla)

Total = 36 species