World’s Largest Birding Tournament Raises Big Money for Texas Birds

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AUSTIN—Famous for being the biggest, longest, wildest birdwatching tournament in the country, this year’s Great Texas Birding Classic raised $45,000 for projects to benefit birds and other wildlife. Celebrating its 26th year, the tournament has raised $1.1 million for on-the-ground conservation work to acquire, restore and enhance wildlife habitat.

More than 1,000 Texans from across the state participated in the all-ages competition to watch and listen for as many species of birds as possible.

“The Great Texas Birding Classic takes place during the spectacular spring migration and this year did not disappoint,” said Shelly Plante, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Nature Tourism Manager. “Participants spotted a record 425 species of birds. The tournament gives people a fun way to spend time outside while raising money for a good cause.”

Youth team mentor Nicole Biggerstaff said, “We were so impressed with the kids’ ability to focus and identify birds. They were completely loving it. I really feel we’ve ignited a love for nature, the outdoors and birding in these young kids’ lives!”

Winning Birding Classic teams get to select which projects to fund. The following is a list of this year’s conservation grants awarded throughout Texas:

CENTRAL TEXAS 

$5,000 Intact Flock Lower Texas Coast Big Day Conservation Grant – Selected by Parking Lot Birders

Project: Kerrville Bird Observatory Network – submitted by Schreiner University, City of Kerrville, Riverside Nature Center, Nobilitea, Texan by Nature

Project Location: Kerrville, Kerr County

$5,000 State Park Conservation Grant – Selected by Armadillo by Morning

Project: Prairie Preservation, submitted by Mother Neff State Park Association

Project Location: Mother Neff State Park, west of Moody, Coryell County

$1,000 Heart of Texas East Big Sit! Conservation Grant – Selected by Birding on Broadmeade

Project: Enhancing Circle Acres Nature Preserve Grassland and Wetland Habitats – submitted by Ecology Action of Texas

Project Location: Austin, Travis County

DALLAS/FORT WORTH AND EAST TEXAS

$5,000 Lone Star Bird Award Conservation Grant – Selected by Shore I Saw It

Project: Birding Platform at Gazebo Nature Preserve (at Lake Livingston Dam), submitted by Piney Woods Lakes Chapter, Texas Master Naturalist

Project Location: Livingston, Polk County

$1,000 Prairies and Pineywoods West Big Sit! Conservation Grant – Selected by Shore I Saw It

Project: Trinity River Audubon Center-Prairie Restoration – submitted by Trinity River Audubon Center

Project Location: Dallas, Dallas County

GULF COAST

$10,000 Dispersed Flock Statewide Big Day Conservation Grant – Selected by Two Eagles & a Chick, sponsored by Deep South Marine, LLC

Project: Indiangrass Preserve Bird Blind and Wetland Restoration Project – submitted by Coastal Prairie Conservancy

Project Location: northwest of Houston (near Waller), Waller County                                          

$5,000 Intact Flock Central Texas Coast Big Day Conservation Grant – Selected by Party Fowl

Project: Packery Channel Oak Motte Sanctuary – submitted by Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi

Project Location: Corpus Christi, Nueces County

$6,000 Total Grants:

$5,000 Sunrise to Noon Conservation Grant Selected by Swarovski Wandering Hawks, sponsored by Swarovski Optik, North America

$1,000 Central Texas Coast Big Sit! Conservation Grant Selected by Swarovski Optik Sitting Hawks, sponsored by Swarovski Optik, North America

Project: Polliwog Pond – submitted by Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi

Project Location: Corpus Christi, Nueces County

$1,000 Adult Statewide Big Day Dispersed Flock Conservation Grant – Selected by Swarovski Optik Scattered Hawks, sponsored by Swarovski Optik, North America

Project: Seabourne Creek Nature Park-Wetland Enhancements – submitted by Coastal Prairie Chapter, Texas Master Naturalist

Project Location: Rosenberg, Fort Bend County

$1,000 Upper Texas Coast Big Sit! Conservation Grant – Selected by Centerpoint Wirebirds, sponsored by Centerpoint Energy

Project: Creation of Bird Viewing Area with Bird Bath/Water Feature at Bayside Regional Park – submitted by Galveston Bay Area Chapter, Texas Master Naturalist

Project Location: Bacliff, Galveston County

WEST TEXAS

$5,000 Intact Flock Toyota Upper Texas Coast Big Day Conservation Grant – Selected by Free Falling Falcons

Project: BJ Bishop Wetlands: Creating Space for Birds and People – submitted by Big Bend Conservation Alliance

Project Location: Presidio, Presidio County

This event is made possible by team sponsorships and registration fees, donations from event sponsors Toyota and Texas Ornithological Society, and awards ceremony sponsor, Audubon Texas. For more information, visit the TPWD Great Texas Birding Classic page.