Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Stay up-to-date on operations adjustments and temporary closure of TPWD offices, state parks, recreation facilities and water access points due to COVID-19. Please follow guidance from local authorities, Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

See Temporary Closures and Adjustments Boat Registration Office Status State Parks Alert Map

Tournament Categories

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Information for All Tournament Categories

The Fall 2020 Birding Classic will offer up your old tournament favorites with some slight modifications due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Below is a listing of all 9 tournament categories available to birders during the Fall Birding Classic. With nine regional tournaments available in every category offering a Regional option - one for each Wildlife Trail region - that gives several options for ways a team can participate! There truly is something for everyone this year. (PDF version of All Tournament Category spreadsheet)

Tournament Category

Age group

Number of team members

Length of time spent birding

Regional *

Statewide **

Additional Information

Expanded Big Sit! Regional Tournaments all ages 1 or more up to 24 hours in a single day (midnight to midnight) X   - Teams select a 50-foot diameter circle from which to bird (NOTE: THIS IS A MODIFICATION FOR 2020 ONLY; TEAMS MUST PLAN SHIFTS ACCORDINGLY TO ALLOW FOR ADEQUATE SOCIAL DISTANCING).
- Per state Covid-19 guidelines for outdoor settings, no more than 10 people at a time may bird within your Big Sit! circle.
- Team members can rotate in shifts or can be the same members all day.
- Birds identified and counted may be inside or outside of the 50' circle, but they MUST be seen/heard from a team member WITHIN the circle.
- Event t-shirts provided for up to 20 people on sponsored teams, but team can consist of more than 20 people (additional shirts may be purchased for $20 each).
Roughwings Regional Big Day Tournaments - Dispersed Flock *** 13 years and
younger     
3-5 up to 8 hours in a single day (midnight to midnight); hours need not be consecutive X   - Team members bird individually in their home "patch." ***
- A mentor/driver does not identify or locate birds for the team but can help verify once ID'd by youth
Gliders Regional Big Day Tournaments - Dispersed Flock *** 14-18
yeears old
3-5 up to 24 hours in a single day (midnight to midnight) X   - Team members bird individually in their home "patch." ***
- A mentor/driver does not identify or locate birds for the team but can help verify once ID'd by youth
Adult Regional Big Day Tournaments - Dispersed Flock *** 19+ years old 3-5 up to 24 hours in a single day (midnight to midnight) X    - Team members bird individually in their home "patch." ***
 - All team members must be in the same region of the state.
Adult Statewide Big Day Tournament - Dispersed Flock *** 19+ years
old
3-5 up to 24 hours in a single day (midnight to midnight)   X - Team members bird individually in their home "patch." ***
- Each team member may be in any region of the state.
Human-Powered Tournament - Dispersed Flock *** all ages 3-5 up to 24 hours in a single day (midnight to midnight)   X - Team members bird individually in their home "patch." ***
- Team members may be in any region of the state.
- All birds identified must be seen/heard after the team has become fully human-powered (walking, bicycles, kayaks, canoes, etc.). No motorized vehicles/watercraft may be used to move between locations once tournament day is begun.
Adult Regional Big Day Tournament - Intact Flock 19+ years
old
3-5 up to 24 hours in a single day (midnight to midnight) X   - Team members 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.
- Teams must bird within a single region of the state.
State Park Tournament - Intact Flock all ages 3-5 up to 24 hours in a single day (midnight to midnight)   X - Team members 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.
- Teams select a TPWD state park and all birds identified must be seen/heard from within that park's official boundaries.
- Teams must make advance day-pass reservations and pay all park entry fees (or use their Texas State Parks Pass), including any overnight fees if starting the count before the park opens.
- Be sure to check park hours regularly as closures may happen with short notice due to the pandemic.
Sunrise to Noon Tournament - Intact Flock all ages 3-5 sunrise to 12:00noon   X  - Team members 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.
 - Teams begin birding at dawn and can bird until 12:00noon.

* There are 9 different regions based on the Great Texas Wildlife Trail. Teams participating in a regional tournament must select their Great Texas Wildlife Trail region using the online Regional Tournament Map, indicate that region on their official team registration form, and stay within the boundaries of that region on their tournament day. Teams in regional tournaments compete against all other teams from the same region for each tournament category.

** Teams participating in a statewide tournament category are not confined to any one region of the state but instead compete against all other teams in that same category, regardless of area birded.

*** The biggest change this year is that for "Dispersed Flock" teams you may put together a team of birders each located anywhere in Texas or in your selected region (depending on if you're entering a statewide or regional tournament). 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 50 miles of their homes. Teams must identify a single list collector for their team who will combine all team members' individual "patch" lists for the day into a single checklist on eBird. The list collector will then share this single cumulative list with the "GTBCStaff" eBird account as the team's official final checklist.

All Tournament Categories also available as a PDF.

General Guidelines for All Tournaments:greatblueheron

  • With the month-long format (October 1-31, 2020), participants may participate in more than one category and/or in the same category for multiple regions.
  • Official Registration Forms must be completed for every team entered (if entering more than one team or category, fill out forms for each team even if the team members will stay the same).
  • All applicable registration fees must be paid for each team to have official standing in the tournament.
  • Teams competing in a Regional Tournament must select which region they wish to compete in based on the Regional Tournament Map and mark that selection in the appropriate section of their Official Registration Form.
  • Teams include 3-5 members in all tournament categories except the Big Sit! tournament in which teams are formed by one or more people (as many as you would like to fit in a 17-foot circle through the course of a day!).
  • Mixed age teams will compete in the age category where 50 percent or more of the competitors fall (e.g., two 25 year-olds and one 17 year-old fall in the Adult category, but two 18 year-olds and one 21 year-old are Gliders). In the event that the team is 50/50, the team automatically falls in the older age group. Roughwings teams are excluded from this rule; all Roughwings team members must be ages 13 years old and under.
  • Additional guidelines will be added by August 10, 2020, for the modified Fall Birding Classic.