New Season and Site Announced for 2021 Youth Birding Competition


Out of safety concerns regarding the coronavirus, Georgia’s 15th annual Youth Birding Competition has been postponed from April 23–24 to Sept. 24–25, 2021.

The awards banquet that will cap the competition on Sept. 25 is also moving, from Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center near Mansfield to Indian Springs State Park in Flovilla, just north of Forsyth.

The popular 24-hour birdathon involves teams of youth from kindergarten to high school seniors counting bird species statewide, then enjoying an awards banquet. For the first time, the banquet will be held at Indian Springs’ Idlewilde Event Center, a beautiful setting in a central location for competing birders as well as winners in the event’s T-shirt art contest.

Youth Birding Competition founder and coordinator Tim Keyes said that while Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, “a wonderful host for 14 years,” will be missed this year, “We are excited about holding the event for the first time during fall migration—which is an added challenge for teams because fewer birds are singing than in spring—and using Idlewilde at Indian Springs, another great state facility.”

In other event changes announced by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the registration deadline has been changed to July 31 and students who complete their senior year in high school this spring or summer will remain eligible to take part in the fall competition.

In early summer, organizers will reassess event plans according to the latest COVID-19 guidelines.

The deadline for entries in the T-shirt Art Contest, a separate component of the Youth Birding Competition, was March 10. The grand-prize winner’s artwork will be featured on this year’s event T-shirts. Age division winners will be announced online and honored during the awards banquet at Indian Springs State Park.

Registration for the 2021 birding competition is open. Teams can sign up at

The Youth Birding Competition and T-shirt Art Contest are sponsored by DNR’s Wildlife Conservation Section, The Environmental Resources Network Inc. or TERN—friends group of the Wildlife Conservation Section and others including Georgia Ornithological Society and the Georgia and Albany Audubon societies. Visit for competition updates, registration and other details.