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The donor: Kevin Shackleton

The gift: Raising $100,000 and climbing

The cause: Bird Studies Canada

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Several years ago, Kevin Shackleton’s wife was looking through a list of local activities when she spotted a duck-identification seminar hosted by Ducks Unlimited.

Mr. Shackleton decided to go and was surprised by what he saw. “I was absolutely gobsmacked by the birds I could see so close to my home,” said Mr. Shackleton, a retired investment adviser who lives in Newmarket, Ont. That was April, 1989, and over the years, Mr. Shackleton became an active birdwatcher and executive member of a naturalist club. He also started participating in an annual fundraising event called a “birdathon,” which raises money for Bird Studies Canada, a charity that funds research and conservation programs.

The event runs each May and involves teams of birdwatchers identifying as many species as they can over a 24-hour period. Participants raise money from sponsors. Mr. Shackleton completed his 24th birdathon last May and he has raised more than $100,000 in total so far. His five-member team, the Warbler Hunters, identified 151 species in Simcoe County during last year’s birdathon, their best total ever. Mr. Shackleton, 65, said the team consists of people who are good at identifying birds by sight or song. “We take it seriously to spread the word about birding and conservation,” he added. “I tell people that the birds can’t ask you for money to protect their habitat or study them, but I can.”

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