AUSTIN, April 17, 2016 - The 20th annual Great Texas Birding Classic kicks off this Friday, April 15. If you missed signing up this year, you still have a chance to participate by joining a Big Sit! team at one of twenty-two birding sites near you.
Often called a “tailgate party for birders,” the Big Sit! is one of eleven 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 hosting Big Sit! teams open to the public:
April 16 — Matagorda Bay Nature Park Spoonbills, sponsored by Lower Colorado River Authority — Location: Matagorda Bay Nature Park’s Wetland Birding Pavilion, Matagorda
April 16 — Mercedes RedCrowns — Big Sit!, sponsored by Mercedes EDC — Location: Estero Llano Grande State Park, Mercedes
April 23 — Swarovski Optik Sitting Hawks, sponsored by Swarovski Optik N.A. — Location: Hazel Bazemore County Park, Corpus Christi
April 23 — South Padre Island Sandpipers, sponsored by South Padre Island CVB — Location: South Padre Island Convention Centre Boardwalk
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