The 2023 I BIRD NY Challenge for birders of all ages and abilities, has begun. The challenge provides opportunities to identify and learn about birds and awards participants who finish the program with a commemorative I BIRD NY Challenge patch and the chance to win birding equipment.
New York’s wide-ranging habitat types, from the Atlantic Ocean’s sandy beaches to majestic Catskill and Adirondack peaks, Great Lakes shorelines, and everything in between, create a birder’s paradise, supporting more than 450 different bird species throughout the year. New York has many wonderful Birding Trail locations and new ones are being added all the time, making it even easier for New Yorkers to get started with birding.
Birdwatching is one of the fastest-growing outdoor recreational activities in the country. Backyard birding, or watching birds close to home, is the most common way people engage in birding. As a birder’s skill and interest develop, there are several opportunities to contribute to scientific knowledge about birds and the natural world. Programs like eBird, New York’s Breeding Bird Atlas, Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s NestWatch, and the Great Backyard Bird Count rely on volunteer birders to contribute sightings to a centralized database.
The I BIRD NY program was launched in 2017 to build on the state’s efforts to increase access to New York’s vast natural resources and promote no- and low-cost opportunities to explore the great outdoors and connect with nature. I BIRD NY is just one of DEC’s ongoing efforts to engage New Yorkers in nature-based activities that provide a fun opportunity for the entire family to learn about the natural world. Because people can observe birds wherever they live, work, or recreate, birding is an accessible activity that does not require transportation or the purchase of specialized equipment. Birdwatching can be enjoyed by people from all economic backgrounds and education levels. While binoculars can help, many birds can be identified without them.
The 2023 I BIRD NY Challenge is open to all ages and ends on Nov. 1. To complete the challenge, participants are required to identify any 10 bird species of their choosing and submit a challenge sheet to DEC online via Survey Monkey or sent via email or mail. Entries must be received by Nov. 17. Entry forms are also available in Spanish. All participants will be awarded a commemorative patch, given a completion certificate, and entered into a drawing for great birding prizes. Two youth and two adult winners will be chosen. Participants will also receive an extra prize entry for providing a photo documenting their challenge experience. As an extra bonus, the first 50 participants will receive a special goodie bag of birding swag items.
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