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2021 Tournament Rules: Updated March 10


All teams must follow these modified tournament rules for the Spring 2021 Birding Classic in order to have official standing in their tournament category. Please review rules carefully as changes have been made based on Texas-specific guidelines regarding the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-34 from March 2, 2021.

The biggest changes for this year include the following (please review complete rules for all tournament details):

  • GTBC participants must abide by all state ordinances.
  • GTBC recommends participants follow CDC travel recommendations, CDC recommendations for visiting parks and recreational facilities, and other relevant federal, state, and local restrictions and guidelines at the time of their tournament day. All local, state, and/or federal restrictions in place on your tournament day supersede any Birding Classic rules.
  • Face coverings are strongly encouraged, but not required, for people participating in the Birding Classic when social distancing is not possible or is difficult to maintain. Face coverings are NOT a replacement for social distancing. Wash hands often, wear a mask, and maintain 6-foot distances between you and other people not in your household.
  • GTBC participants are no longer required to focus on their home "patch." As of March 10, there are no restrictions to your birding area as long as teammates adhere to guidelines outlined in rule III. Geographic Area.
  • "Dispersed Flock" teams include team members who may be located anywhere in Texas or in their selected region (depending on if they're entering a statewide or regional tournament). Several tournament categories will offer this option.
  • “Intact Flock” teams include team members willing and able to travel together during their tournament day.
  • Big Sit! teams select a 50-foot diameter circle from which to bird. Guidelines as of March 10 allow for any number of birders to be in your Big Sit! circle at a time. Teams must plan shifts to allow for adequate social distancing.
  • All rules, terms, and conditions are subject to change up to and including during the dates of the event to comply with federal, state, and/or local restrictions and quickly evolving best practices. Full rules for the 2021 Birding Classic can be found online. These rules are being adopted to ensure that health and safety is the top priority as we have fun, connect with one another (virtually or safely in person), and fundraise for avian conservation work throughout the state of Texas.
  • The 95% Rule will not apply in any "Dispersed Flock" tournament categories nor to the Big Sit! In "Dispersed Flock" tournament categories, team members will be remote from one another, so it is up to fellow members to accept or question any dubious identifications before adding them to the official checklist. Big Sit! teams continue to only need a single team member to see/identify a species for it to count.
  • The 95% rule applies only to the "Intact Flock" categories. This means 95% of all birds recorded by an "Intact Flock" team must be tallied and identified by all members of the team. All birds must be identified by at least two members of a team. Identification made by only one team member can never be counted. Ninety-five percent of all birds recorded by a team must be identified by the entire team. The remaining 5 percent may be identified by two or more members.

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