AUSTIN — The 20th annual Great Texas Birding Classic kicked off Friday. If you missed signing up this year, you still have a chance to participate by joining a Big Sit! team at one of 22 birding sites near you.
This Saturday, the South Padre Island Sandpipers is participating in the event, sponsored by South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The location will be the South Padre Island Convention Centre Boardwalk and Gardens.
Often called a “tailgate party for birders,” the Big Sit! is one of 11 different categories within the Birding Classic tournament. Teams participating in the Big Sit! watch and listen over a 24-hour period to identify bird species while remaining within a 17-foot diameter circle. All of the sites listed below are hosting Big Sit! teams and have invited the public to join them, giving them extra eyes and ears in the field looking for birds to list.
If you would like to join a team for a day — or even part of a day — and learn from local bird experts, visit one of the following state parks or nature centers to help their Big Sit! teams. Check the online birding calendar or contact the sites directly for more details. Tournaments run until May 15.
All registration fees and sponsorship dollars go toward conservation grants benefiting birding, nature tourism, and habitat restoration and enhancement projects throughout Texas. Some winning teams even help select which projects will be funded.
Overall last year, the tournament raised $25,000 for conservation grants — a 40 percent increase from the previous year. Since its inception in 1997, the Great Texas Birding Classic has awarded conservation grants totaling $844,500.
To find out more about the tournament and see all of the teams participating this year, visit www.BirdingClassic.org.
The following sites are other locations hosting Big Sit! teams open to the public:
April 23 – Swarovski Optik Sitting Hawks, sponsored by Swarovs ki Optik N.A.
Location: Hazel Bazemore County Park, Corpus Christi
April 26 – Big TERNout …, sponsored by Audubon TERN
Location: Galveston Island State Park
April 26 – Visit Beaumont, TX, sponsored by Visit Beaumont, TX CVB
Location: Cattail Marsh inside Tyrrell Park , Beaumont
April 27 – Birders at the Bend, sponsored by San Saba Bird & Nature Club
Location: Colorado Bend SP
April 30 – Island Peeps
Location: Goose Island State Park , near Rockport
April 30 – Quinta Mas -Sit-Lawn, sponsored by Eagle Optics
Location: Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center , McAllen
April 30 – Uptown Funky Ducks
Location: Edinburg Scenic Wetlands and World Birding Center
April 30 – Brazosport GCBO Spring Flingers, sponsored by Brazosport Chamber of Commerce
Location: Quintana Neotropic Bird Sanctuary, near Lake Jackson
April 30 – Golden-cheeked Wanderers, sponsored by Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation
Location: Mother Neff State Park , Moody
May 1 – I-20 Wildlife Preserve, sponsored by I-20 Wildlife Preserve
Location: I-20 Wildlife Preserve, Midland
May 1 – Brazos Banditry, sponsored by Thomas Moore Feed
Location: Brison Park, College Station
May 1 – Hot Wings
Location: Resaca de la Palma State Park, Brownsville
May 7 – Onion Heads, sponsored by Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation
Location: McKinney Falls State Park , Austin
May 7 – Sitting Ducks
Location: Lake Colorado City State Park
May 7 – Off Their Nuthatches
Location: Tyler State Park
May 7 – Ridge Watchers
Location: Martin Dies, Jr State Park, Jasper
May 14 – Laredo Seedeater Seekers, sponsored by Laredo CVB
Location: Lake Casa Blanca State Park , Laredo
May 14 – Rootin’ Tootin ‘ Tanagers
Location: South Llano River State Park, near Junction
May 15 – The Bluebirds
Location: Blanco State Park