Youth Birding Competition

Youth Birding Competition

Birders don’t get enough respect.

People who wouldn’t know a Chuck-will’s-widow from a whip-poor-will think birding is for bird brains.

Now, maybe putting neon lights under your car or mastering a video game is more to your liking.  That’s cool.  Knock yourself out.  But, in my humble opinion, putting your resources and time into that stuff cannot compare to walking through the woods or sitting on the edge of a meadow and listening for birds.  And knowing which bird you’re hearing.

Birding is for a lifetime.  It doesn’t cost much.  You can bird almost anywhere and you can share your life list with others.

Who knows?  Maybe, someday, somebody will tell you why woodpeckers have red on their heads.

But I digress ….

Georgia Wildlife Resources Division is gearing up for the 8th annual Youth Birding Competition.

This event has introduced many of Georgia’s young people to birds and birding.  It’s a one-time adventure that gets them outside to test their birding skills.

The Youth Birding Competition is a 24-hour event in which teams try to find as many species of birds in Georgia as they can, while the clock ticks down to the finish line and awards ceremony.  Birding is great fun for beginners and experts alike, and first-year teams are eligible for “rookie” prizes.

The 2013 competition will be held April 13-14. Teams can travel anywhere in the state, though they must arrive at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center by 5 PM on April 14th to turn in their checklists and join the awards banquet.

Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center is located at 543 Elliott Trail, Mansfield, GA 30055.

For many, the Youth Birding Competition has developed into a serious passion.  Some of the top birders in Georgia either became interested in birds through the competition or were seriously challenged to increase their skills because of it.

Generous sponsors, including TERN and the Georgia Ornithological Society, allow us to give prizes ranging from quality binoculars to field guides and other games to winners.

Teams compete against one another with participants their own age, ranging from primary school division through high school.  If teams are looking for help preparing for the Youth Birding Competition, DNR staff members try to link them with local experienced mentors, allowing them to build their skills.

Students interested in art can also contribute bird artwork which may be selected for the next Youth Birding Competition T-shirt design.  They can also win a Michael’s gift card for free art supplies!  All you need to do is draw or paint your favorite Georgia bird on paper or sheet canvas and submit it by the March 4, 2013, deadline.

Find out all the rules and other details here.

Educators, scout leaders and parents please consider supporting a team through your class, nature center, home school or family.

The event is free and it is a great way to get kids outside and engage them with Georgia’s wonderful bird life.

For more information on the Youth Birding Competition, please contact: Tim Keyes ([email protected]).

For information about the T-shirt art contest, please contact: Linda May ([email protected]).