Every spring since 1989, bird lovers in Berrien County, Michigan, (directly across the lake from Chicago,) have taken part in the annual Southwest Michigan Team Birdathon.
Birdathons are much like walkathons, but instead of racking up miles for charities, people pledge donations based on the number of birds a team sees or hears. The proceeds are, for this particular event, donated to nature or conservation groups
Participants in the southwest Michigan birdathon can start at midnight and go all out until 7 p.m., tracking down as many species as possible within Berrien County. And because the event is held at the height of spring migration near the shores of Lake Michigan, a major corridor for migrating birds, there are literally hundreds of different species teams can tally on their official checklists.
Producers Elizabeth Meister and Dan Collison followed two of the 24 teams who took part in last spring's event. One team was made up veteran birders who won the previous year's Birdathon. The other included younger, less experienced members.