The 2023 Youth Birding Competition is in the books (see how the teams fared). The 2024 YBC banquet and awards ceremony is set for April 20. Details will be provided here later this year.
What is the YBC?
It's a fun, 24-hour birding completion held during a nine-day period that coincides with peak spring migration. In the YBC, teams of two to five youths compete against others by age division to find the most birds in Georgia. A banquet and awards ceremony follows on the last day at Charlie Elliott Conference Center near Mansfield.
When is it?
The 2024 ceremony will be on April 20. The deadline to register is March 31.
Where is it?
Statewide! Visit as much or as little of Georgia as you want. There are no restrictions on where you can bird. Just make sure you have permission or the licenses/permits needed to access the sites you bird.
Do you need to be an expert?
No! We can pair your team with an experienced birder (mentor) to help you learn about the birds before the competition. Please note that during the competition, only youth participants can identify birds.
Who does it benefit?
Your team can use the Youth Birding Competition to raise money for the Georgia Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund – the main fund for DNR’s Wildlife Conservation Section – or for the conservation organization of your choice.
Are there prizes?
Of course! For each age group (K-2, 3-5, 6-8 or 9-12), teams will compete for most birds reported, most money raised and the top first-year teams. Grand prizes include new binoculars for the team finding the most birds. There also will be door prizes for almost all participants who attend the awards ceremony.
How much does it cost?
Participation is absolutely free (including the coveted YBC T-shirts).
How can you register?
Registration will open online this winter. The deadline to register will be March 31, 2024.
Details on registration, rules, ethics, resources, becoming a mentor and more are included in the Youth Birding Competition booklet (view the 2023 booklet). The booklet includes a bird species checklist but you can also download one separately.
Learn more about the related Youth Birding T-shirt Art Contest. Participation on a birding team is encouraged but not required to submit artwork. Details on the 2024 contest will be available in this fall.
Georgia's Youth Birding Competition is primarily funded by The Environmental Resources Network Inc. (TERN), friends group of the Wildlife Resources Division's Wildlife Conservation Section. For more information on TERN, including how to become a member, call (478) 994-1438 or visit TERN’s website. Donations are also provided by Georgia Audubon and Georgia Ornithological Society.
Life After the YBC
From Argentina’s Las Yungas Biosphere Reserve, YBC alumnus Angus Pritchard talks about what he’s up to, how the YBC helped, tips on competing and encouragement for pursuing an interest in birds and conservation. “You have an interest that is super unique,” Pritchard says, “and that is incredibly important. It will probably pay off in ways that you can’t expect right now.”