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Official Fall 2020 Modified Tournament Rules


All teams must follow these modified tournament rules for the Fall 2020 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 Covid-19 pandemic.

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

  • The event is taking place during the month of October, not mid-April to mid-May.
  • GTBC participants must focus on their home "patch" (i.e. window views, yards, neighborhoods, or outdoor public spaces such as parks if permitted by local/statewide ordinances) within a 50 mile radius of their homes in order to stay local during the pandemic.
  • "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 who may bird together with others in their quarantine "pod" of family/friends (i.e., those they are quarantining or interacting with during this pandemic) while following any local or state ordinances pertaining to the pandemic.
  • Big Sit! teams select a 50-foot diameter circle from which to bird (TEAMS MUST PLAN SHIFTS ACCORDINGLY TO ALLOW FOR ADEQUATE SOCIAL DISTANCING). Per state Covid-19 guidelines for outdoor gatherings, no more than 10 people at a time may bird within your Big Sit! circle.
  • 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 2020 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.
  • GTBC participants must abide by state ordinances, CDC travel recommendations, and CDC recommendations for visiting parks and recreational facilities 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.
  • If going to a local park or other outdoor space, GTBC participants must comply with the physical distancing guidelines set forth by the National Recreation and Parks Association and other relevant federal, state, and local restrictions and guidelines.
  • 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 quarantine "pod" of family/friends.
  • GTBC participants may not share optics, equipment, or books or ride in the same vehicle except with others in their quarantine "pod" of family/friends.
  • 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 a "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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