From Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Photo Courtesy Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Tim Keyes hopes Georgia's 2011 Youth Birding Competition has more birds and more birders.
"We always like to see bird numbers increase, and hopefully participants will continue to increase, as well," Keyes said. He's the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division biologist who coordinates the competition.
Bird and youth totals have been on the rise since the Wildlife Resources Division joined with the Environmental Resources Network Inc. and others to begin the 24-hour bird-a-thon about six years ago.
Teams totaling more than 130 birders ages 6-18 and ranging from first-timers to veterans reported an amazing 184 bird species last year. There are about 200 bird species in Georgia during mid-spring.
The 2011 competition is April 16 and 17, with a Sunday evening banquet and awards ceremony.
Teams can register in age divisions from kindergarten to high school. Participants compete against other teams their age, in four age divisions. Fundraising is a voluntary component. Teams can raise money to support an organization on a per-bird or lump sum basis.
The deadline to register is March 31.
The sixth annual competition includes a T-shirt Art Contest and nature journal category, two areas in which Keyes and T-shirt Art Contest coordinator Linda May also welcome more entries.
"There are so many different ways to appreciate birds other than just counting them," Keyes said.
Participation in the birding competition is encouraged but not required to submit artwork for the T-shirt Art Contest.
All of the events are free.
The Youth Birding Competition is based on the World Series of Birding event in Cape May, N.J., and sponsored by the Wildlife Resources Division and T.E.R.N., the friends group of the division's Nongame Conservation Section.
The competition starts at 5 p.m. April 16 and ends at 5 p.m. April 17. Groups can use as much or as little of that time to count as many birds as possible throughout Georgia. Although teams may start birding anywhere in the state, they must arrive at the finish line at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center by 5 p.m. April 17.
The Youth Birding Competition T-shirt Art Contest was started in 2008. It is open to Georgia residents pre-kindergarten through high school. For details on the T-shirt Art Contest, go to www.georgiawildlife.com/node/950 or contact Linda May at (770)918-6792 or by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about registering for the Youth Birding Competition, go to www.georgiawildlife.com/node/951, or contact Lacy Mitchell at Charlie Elliott Conference Center, (770) 784-3152 or email@example.com.
Tim Keyes, at (912) 262-3191 or firstname.lastname@example.org, can answer questions about the competition.