The Youth Birding Competition is traditionally a 24-hour birding event held during the peak of spring migration. However, following a COVID-caused postponement from spring to September, the statewide contest is going virtual and lasting longer this fall!
The revised YBC will run from September 24 to October 3. During that 10-day period, youth and chaperones – following coronavirus precautions and ordinances – will spend a contiguous 24-hour period of their choice finding as many species as possible as they compete against teams their own age. The competition will be capped off with an engaging virtual awards banquet on October 5.
Many participants will win prizes, and all will be awarded a cool YBC T-shirt – while also enjoying birds in Georgia’s great outdoors.
Note: Registration for the 2021 event closed August 20. Please check back early next year for details on the 2022 competition!
What is it?
It is a 24-hour birding event during an almost two-week window during the peak of fall migration. Youth teams select a 24-hour period between September 24 and October 3 and spend the day (and night!) finding as many species as possible as they compete against teams their own age. Checklists are turned in via a shared eBird list or email.
When is it?
Teams select a 24-hour period between September 24 and October 3rd (a 10-day period that includes four weekend days). Teams can start and finish their count at any time that works best for them as long as it is a contiguous 24-hour period (for example, 5 p.m.-5 p.m. or midnight-midnight).
Where is it?
Everywhere in Georgia! Visit as much or as little of the state as you want. Without a set “finish line” there are no restrictions on where you can bird during your count. You do not need to turn in lists in person, but will submit them electronically. And don’t miss the announcement of winners at the virtual awards banquet, scheduled for 6 p.m. October 5.
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 this event to raise money for the Georgia Wildlife Conservation Fund—the main fund for the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division's Wildlife Conservation Section—or for the conservation organization of your choice.
Are there prizes?
Of course! For each age group (K–2nd, 3rd–5th, 6th–8th, 9th–12th grades) teams will compete for the most birds seen and the most money raised. Grand prizes include new binoculars for the team finding the most birds.
How much does it cost?
Participation is absolutely free (including the coveted Youth Birding Competition T-shirts).
Prizes include (by age division):
- Most birds seen
- Most money raised
- Best rookie team
Unfortunately, registration for the 2021 event has closed. Please check back early next year for details on the 2022 Youth Birding Competition.
Details on registration, rules, ethics, resources, becoming a mentor and more are included in the 2021 Youth Birding Competition booklet. This guide includes a bird species checklist, but you can also download one separately.
Enjoy drawing? Learn more about the related Youth Birding T-shirt Art Contest. Participation on a birding team is encouraged but not required to submit artwork.
We strongly encourage that all teams make every effort to participate as safely as possible by following the guidelines listed in the competition booklet. These are provided to ensure that health and safety are top priority as participants have fun, connect with one another (virtually or safely in person) and fundraise for avian conservation throughout Georgia.
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 http://tern.homestead.com. Donations are also provided by Georgia and Albany Audubon societies (www.georgiaaudubon.org) and Georgia Ornithological Society (www.gos.org).