COTF19 award winners

Jonathan Meyrav 25/04/2019 00:00

The dust has just settled from the 2019 Champions of the Flyway campaign.

Birders from all over the world are still recovering from months of tedious fundraising followed by long days in the field and of course, the hectic bird race itself.

On March 26th, 31 teams of birders from 14 nationalities took to the field for an amazing 24 hours of birding and adrenaline, tallying over 230 species of birds! Our teams consisted of birders of varying levels, aged 6-74! The race was amazing as usual and we will share the results shortly but most important is the fact that the fundraising campaign was fantastic with close to $80,000 raised for Nature Kenya's Vulture projects.


This year the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) and Birdlife International decided to take the Champions. For the first time since the project began we decided to raise funds for a conservation cause in Africa. Following 5 years of projects based in Europe the Champions of the flyway family directed our efforts at an important and urgent call, the plea of the Vultures of the Rift Valley.  We are hopeful that with the help of the substantial amount of money raised Nature Kenya will be able to achieve a lot on the ground, to the benefit of the Vultures of the Mara region.


2019 Champions of the Flyway award winners


- The Champions of the Flyway

The 2018 Champions of the Flyway are "TEAM SPECTACLED" a team of Israeli teenagers that logged an amazing 173 species in 24 hours.

Team Spectacled are: Dvir Rudnicki, Ori Davidor, Klil Zaitlin and Nitay Haiun with driver Oded Ovadia



Team Spectacled     Photo: Yuval Dax


- The Guardians of the Flyway

The 2018 Guardians of the Flyway are the CANUCKS from Canada! Stu Mckenzie, Jody Alair, Peter Davidson and Yousif Attia raised over $15,000 for the project, a fantastic effort!



The Canucks     Photo: Yuval Dax


- Israeli Guardians of the Flyway

The Israeli team that raised the most money for the cause are the BLACKCAPS, the first ever team of Orthodox kids! The Blackcaps did a "green" big day on bikes and pedaled around 50 Kms during the day! On top of all this the youngsters raised over $4000 for the cause! Congrats to Moshe Zinger, Levi Yitzhak (Levitz) Gross, Moishy Glazer and Ron Faibish



Team Blackcaps      Photo: Yuval Dax


-  The Bill Thompson III Knights of the Flyway award

The BT3 knights of the Flyway award goes to the CANUCKS from Canada as well! Stu Mckenzie, Jody Alair, Peter Davidson and Yousif Attia did the most to promote the cause, to help spreading the word and showed great creativity and generosity before, during and after the race, well done Canucks!


- The COTF 19 "Green" Champions

The 2019 green champions are the BUNTINGS! Well done to Lior Kislev, Noam Kirshenbaum, Ohad Avraham and Ran Markus for logging an amazing 113 species while walking over 30 Kms!




The Green Team - The Buntings     Photo: Uri Kaufman


Champions of the Flyway 2019 - Top 10


This year the playing field was amazingly even, just look at the final list!

1. Team Spectacled - 173 species

2. The Little Bastards - 172 species

3. Swarovski World Youth birders - 170 species

4. Leica CTT Keep Calm and Carrion - 168 species

5. JBO/Manomet Rocking Redstarts - 166 species

6. Leica Birders without borders - 165 species

7. Unlimited Birdwatchers - 161 species

8. Mission of Mercy birders - 155 species

9. Team Heligoland - 154 species

10. Team VCF - 152 species



Saving Africa's Vultures   Photo: Uri Kaufman


We would like to thank all Champions of the Flyway participants for a monumental effort this year; you are all true ambassadors for the Vultures of Africa! A warm thank you to our colleagues in Birdlife International for believing in our dream and giving us the tools we need to make it happen. Finally the biggest thanks go to the thousands of people worldwide that donated money to the cause. It is thanks to all of you opening your hearts and wallets that we can truly make a difference in the long battle for bird conservation. You are all a powerful voice that speaks out for those that cannot be heard and this is what makes you true Flyway Champions!


There is a lot more that needs to be done, see you next year.

Jonathan Meyrav / Champions of the Flyway coordinator

On behalf of the whole team.

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