Grab your binoculars and birding guides and get ready for fun at the 17th annual Great Texas Birding Classic. The registration deadline for year’s event, which will feature a number of firsts, is April 1.
The Texas birding tournament, which has been a week-long event for 16 years along the Texas Gulf Coast, is going statewide and will last an entire month – from April 15 to May 15. The new format will allow participants to compete in more than one of the 42 categories and choose what days they wish to participate based on weather and personal schedules.
In addition to the traditional competitions, such as the Big Sit!, this year there will be nine regional Big Day tournaments, a Texas State Park tourney and Sunrise to Noon contest. Team fees have been lowered from previous years, as well, making participation easier and more economical than ever before.
“You’ll now be able to participate from anywhere in Texas, including your own backyard,” says Shelly Plante, tournament director. “Any birdwatcher from the backyard birder to those who may be more competitive is welcome to join the event. There’s a tournament category for everyone.”
Plante manages the nature tourism program for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which oversees this friendly annual birding competition that raises funds for Texas conservation projects. Since the inception of the Great Texas Birding Classic in 1997, adult teams that recorded the most bird species in various categories have directed $789,500 in grants to avian habitat conservation.
If you’re thinking of entering the birding competition, check out some helpful tips from previous years’ tournament competitors. Learn how to mentor or chaperone youth birding teams, tips for teams doing a Big Day, strategy for taking on the Weeklong Tournament and suggestions for finding team sponsors to cover a team’s registration fees.
Habitat conservation grants, which this year will be awarded to projects anywhere in Texas, are funded through event sponsorship and registration fees. This year’s event sponsors include Toyota, as well as a new awards ceremony sponsor, Audubon Texas. To learn more about the tournament, visit: www.birdingclassic.org, or call (512) 389-4500.
Logo courtesy Texas Parks & Wildlife Department