As the ABA Leica Wheatears gear up for the Champions of the Flyway competition this March, we find ourselves in need of a little help. Due to the Wheatears all being full-time college students, we are $1,500 short of the logistical fees needed to get the team to Eilat. Please help in our fundraising efforts for travel funds.

Once we raise enough for our travel expenses get us to to the competition we will turn off this site and move to our Champions of the Flyways official page to continue working towards raising our conservation fund goal and beyond.

If we do not meet our travel fund goals, 100% of the funds raised here, minus travel expenses spent, will go to the conservation efforts of Vultures in Kenya.

Thank you so much – we are very grateful for your donation! Follow the race and our team on Twitter and Facebook!

Facebook: ​ABA-Leica Subadult Wheatears
Twitter: ​@ABAWheatears

Meet the Team:

Aidan Place

Aidan (19) started his birding career while growing up on farm in rural Pennsylvania in the United States. It was there that he first fell in love with nature and particularly everything to do with birds. Since then, his love of birding has taken him everywhere from the steaming jungles of Panama to the barren steppes of Kazakhstan.

It is a great honor for Aidan to be able to participate in Champions of the Flyway. He is particularly excited to be raising money for conservation efforts in Croatia and Serbia, countries part of his beloved Balkan Peninsula, and not far from his current home in Bosnia.

Johanna Beam

Johanna has always been a nature addict and has fond memories of hiking and camping with her family growing up.  The 21 year old loves climbing mountains and finding White-tailed Ptarmigan in her home state of Colorado. She currently attends University of Colorado. She studies Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and is currently working on her honors thesis focusing on Eastern, Western, and Lilian’s Meadowlark genetics and divergence. She is hoping to one day illustrate field guides and continue to study birds.

While Johanna has only been birding for five years, she has already risen to great levels in american birding. She became the American Birding Association-Leica Young Birder of the Year in 2017, only three years after picking up binoculars for the first time. Her love of birding has taken her all across the United States, from Florida to Maine to California, where she most recently presented her research on Townsend’s Solitaire song use and structure. Johanna hopes to travel around the world to promote conservation, spread the love of birding, and draw/paint as many of the world’s species as humanly possible.

Gautam Apte

Gautam (18) is a birder and aspiring field ornithologist studying Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife Science at The Ohio State University. Born and raised just outside of Cleveland, Ohio, his parents fostered a deep connection with the outdoors from an early age, which led to a strong interest in birds and the natural world. Since he started seriously birding after joining the Ohio Young Birders Club at age 12, he has developed a strong interest in local, county-level birding. He enjoys going out birding with his close friends and scanning through flocks of wintering waterbirds on the frozen surface of Lake Erie. One of his specific interests is documenting evidence of breeding populations of certain species in Cuyahoga County, his home region.

Marquette Mutchler

Marky is a nineteen year old birder, artist, and ornithologist who has been birding since the age of five. She currently attends Louisiana State University where she is actively working on several research projects pertaining to avian genetics. As the 2015 ABA Young Birder of the Year, Marky is an advocate for the importance of young birder involvement in the birding scene; she has given keynote addresses at OYBC and Missouri Audubon, been featured in Birding magazine, and guided at Yellow Rails and Rice.