Champions of the Flyway is an international bird race for conservation. All teams are competing to raise the greatest amount of conservation funding.
Its primary purpose is to celebrate the extraordinary miracle of bird migration. The teams arrive in Eilat a few days prior to the race day. There is one full day of touring the best sites in the Negev and the Arava Valley enabling all participants to get a good feel of the “playing field” and practical and logistical issues, led by Israel’s top birders.
The following days, the teams explore the field on their own to plan their route for the race day.
The coveted titles
Birding teams from all over the world are staging their strategy so that they may win one of three coveted titles:
Champions of the Flyway: Awarded to the team that records the most species in 24 hours.
Guardians of the Flyway: Awarded to the team that generates the most funding for this year’s conservation action project: stopping the illegal killing of birds in Greece.
Knights of the Flyway: Awarded to the team which does the most to promote the cause and helps others to see the most birds and get the most enjoyment out of the event.
Champions of the Flyway is dedicated to preventing the illegal killing of migratory birds in the Africa Eurasian Flyway.
There are certain rules to be fulfilled by the teams. There have to be a minimum of three team members in each team. Only birds seen within the defined “playing field” can be added on the list. Every species logged can either be seen or heard, but at least three of the team members have to conclusively identify it. The team checklist has to be handed in before midnight of the race day.
Champions of the Flyway is dedicated to preventing the illegal killing of migratory birds in the Africa Eurasian Flyway. The 2016 Action is the tackling of the illegal killing of birds on the Greek mainland and its Islands. Turtle doves and other migrating species passing through the Greek Islands, are illegally shot and trapped. Also, small songbirds are trapped and sold in cages on the black bird market. As part of the conservation action the poachers on the ground are targeted and BirdLife will also aim to work with the city of Athens to stop the illegal trade. Therefore, more than $70,000 have been raised by the participating teams to help the local BirdLife partner, the Hellenic Ornithological Society.