152 species found during Bird-A-Thon

Ed and Lee

The Dickinson County Conservation Board’s Spring Bird-A-Thon was a success.

Local birders Lee Schoenewe and Ed Thelen scoured the area on a partly cloudy Wednesday, May 14, for as many species of birds as they could find. From 5 a.m.-7:30 p.m., in temperatures from 36-65 degrees, the pair spotted 152 avian species, a record for both.

Schoenewe and Thelen put 165 miles on their vehicle, driving around Dickinson County to find different species. They started at Christopherson Slough and also visited Silver Lake, Cayler Prairie, Jemerson Slough, Spring Run and other wild areas. It was in the Kettleson Hogsback Wildlife Management Area in Spirit Lake that they found most of the warblers and songbirds.

During the Spring Bird-A-Thon, generous donors pledged a certain amount of money for each species to be found on May 14 or offered a flat donation. Thanks to Schoenewe and Thelen finding their record number of species, more than $1,000 was raised for a new avian courtyard to be created at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji.

“Ed and I had talked about doing a big day in Dickinson County for years, and this presented us a good opportunity,” Schoenewe said.

The avian courtyard will be constructed on the southwest corner of the building, visible from inside the nature center and from the large deck outside. The courtyard will include trees, shrubs and flowers around a feeding station, encouraging a diverse number of species to the area.

“The area being developed will serve several purposes: It will serve as an example of landscaping with natives, improved habitat for birds and other wildlife as well as providing a much-needed staging area for birds that use that feeding area,” said naturalist Karess Knutdson. “Birds need to be able to fly in, land and assess the area before moving to the feeders.”

“We want to thank Lee Schoenewe and Ed Thelen as well as all of the people who donated to the Bird-A-Thon,” said community relations coordinator Kiley Roth. “We are so appreciative of all who have given to this project in various capacities.”

Volunteers have been invited to a work day 8 a.m. Thursday, June 12, to work on the avian courtyard at the nature center, which is located at 2279 170th St. in Okoboji.

See the results from the Bird-A-Thon here!

bird-a-thon checklist


  1. Tony Thelen on June 6, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Congrats Lee and Ed on your Big Day. Great job for a great cause.

  2. Nancy Galloway on May 30, 2014 at 7:16 am

    I would like to help.

    • kiley on June 2, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Thanks Nancy! We will be starting at 8 a.m. if you would like to come. Feel free to call 712-336-6352 and talk to Kiley! I can give you the details.

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