The Youth Birding Competition is a 24-hour birding event during the peak of spring migration. Youth teams spend the day finding as many species as they can as they compete against teams their own age. The competition is capped off with a wildlife show and awards banquet. The 2018 event was held from 5 p.m. Friday, April 27, to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 28. The 2019 event is set for April 26–27. Registration opens this winter. Read about the 2018 event.
Why start at 5 p.m.?
This allows younger or more low-key teams to look for owls in the evening rather than get up at midnight. It also allows older, crazier teams to bird the coast that evening and then work up to Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center on the next day.
Where is it?
Visit as much or as little of the state of Georgia as you want, just make it to Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center by the 5 p.m. deadline to turn in your list. Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center is in Mansfield, about one hour east of Atlanta. All events will be at the Conference Center Banquet Hall.
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–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12 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. There will be door prizes for almost all of the participants.
How much does it cost?
Participation is absolutely free, unless you plan to spend the night at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, in which case lodging costs will be factored.
Free to all participants:
- Fun and educational day outside!
- Awards banquet
- Live animal show
- Breakfast & lunch (if participants are in the vicinity of Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center)
Prizes include (by age division):
- Most birds seen
- Most money raised
- Best rookie team
Registration for the 2019 event will open in winter. If you have questions before then, email Tim Keyes or contact him at 912-262-3191.
Details on registration, rules, ethics, resources, becoming a mentor and more is available in the Youth Birding Competition booklet. (This booklet will be updated for the 2019 event.)
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 Eagle Optics (www.eagleoptics.com), Atlanta and Albany Audubon societies (www.atlantaaudubon.org) and Georgia Ornithological Society (www.gos.org).
The Youth Birding Competition is a 24-hour birding event during the peak of spring migration. Youth teams spend the day finding as many species as they can as they compete against teams their own age. The competition is capped off with a wildlife show and awards banquet.