AUSTIN, TX (TPWD) — Whether you’re a novice birder with a busy schedule or a “fool” for birding who enjoys a little friendly competition, the 18th Annual Great Texas Birding Classic is a must. Form a team and enter to compete by the April 1 deadline.
Enter one or several categories lasting from 24 hours of competition or for an entire week during this year’s Birding Classic being held from April 15 through May 15. For the second year, participants choose from among 42 different categories that offer something for everyone, regardless of bird watching experience, age, ability, location, length of time available to bird and other variants.
Last year’s Great Texas Birding Classic attracted more than 300 participants from El Paso and the Panhandle to the Rio Grande Valley and the Pineywoods of East Texas, who recorded 398 avian species during a host of regional and statewide daylong and weeklong tournaments. Fifty-six teams entered, attracted by the format flexibility and lower registration fees.
“Last year’s participation was the highest in the past decade,” says GTBC director Shelly Plante, TPWD’s nature tourism manager. “The Classic is a perfect fit for naturalists, birders, communities, nature centers, bird clubs and school groups. Besides, it’s a fun way to spend the day outside with family and friends.”
Participating teams can choose from a variety of tournament categories, choosing to participate for a day or more and compete regionally or statewide, including:
- The Big Sit! This category is great for teams that have one or two “ringer” birders or if you have lots of people wanting to be on one team together.
- State Park Tournament, Big Sit! or Sunrise-to-Noon Tournament. Ideal for a team seeking a more laid-back day without too much traveling around and for teams composed of mixed ages, so kids, teens and adults can be on a team together.
- Regional Big Day. Perfect for those who want to test their skills against others in your part of the state, while birding for most or all of a 24-hour period. Categories are separated by age groups. Mentor a Roughwings (13 years and younger) or Gliders (age 14-18) or do your own adult tourney.
- Statewide Tournament. Take on birders throughout Texas for either the Statewide Big Day Tournament for 24 hours of birding or enter the Statewide Weeklong Tournament for six consecutive days of birding anywhere and everywhere in Texas.
To register online and learn the rules and tournament details, visit: www.BirdingClassic.org . All registration fees and sponsorship dollars go toward conservation grants benefiting birding, nature tourism, and habitat restoration and enhancement projects throughout Texas. Some winning teams even help select which projects will be funded.
Have questions? Talk to Birding Classic staff by calling (512) 389-4500.