Texas bird watching tournament celebrates 20 years

Next month, hundreds of bird watchers will occupy the coast, forests, prairies and mountains of Texas in the nation’s largest bird-watching tournament.

The 20th annual Great Texas Birding Classic will run from April 15 to May 15 and the deadline to register is April 1.

According to a press release by Texas Parks and Wildlife, the competition used to be for experts only, but now anyone can compete. There are 40 tournament categories to choose from, including the Big Sit! where birders must remain within a 17-foot-diameter circle to count their birds, a sunrise-to-noon event, youth-only tournaments, a human-powered contest and one tournament held entirely within Texas state parks.

“The Birding Classic is a wonderful opportunity for bird watching enthusiasts and all nature lovers to gather with family and friends to see how many bird species they can spot in a few hours, a full day, or even a few days in a row,” Shelly Plante, nature tourism manager for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said. “This is a fun event that anyone, regardless of their age or ability, will enjoy.”

More than 530 competitors competed last year, documenting 413 out of 643 documented avian species in Texas.

The profits raised from the event will go toward birding and habitat conservation, restoring and enhancement grants throughout the state, helping preserve critical bird habitat and support nature tourism, according to the release.

For more information about the event and how to register, visit birdingclassic.com