Bald Eagle

2023 I BIRD NY Challenge through November 1

Program Encourages New Yorkers to Enjoy Birding Close to Home and on the New York State Birding Trail

The challenge provides opportunities to identify and learn about birds and awards participants who finish the program with a commemorative I BIRD NY Challenge patch and the chance to win birding equipment. DEC has updated the challenge format this year to feature a single challenge for all ages and abilities.

“No matter where you live or where you come from, birdwatching is a fun, easy, and affordable activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, abilities, identities, and backgrounds,” Commissioner Seggos said. “With spring migration in full swing, it’s a great time of year to take up birding or take your birding skills to the next level by observing birds on the diverse variety of habitats found in New York State.”

New York State offers a wide range of bird habitats which makes our location a birder’s paradise

New York State’s wide-ranging habitat types, from the Atlantic Ocean’s sandy beaches to majestic Catskill and Adirondack peaks, Great Lakes shorelines, and everything in between, create a birder’s paradise, supporting more than 450 different bird species throughout the year. New York has many wonderful Birding Trail locations and new ones are being added all the time, making it even easier for New Yorkers to get started with birding.

Birdwatching is one of the fastest-growing outdoor recreational activities in the country. Backyard birding, or watching birds close to home, is the most common way people engage in birding. As a birder’s skill and interest develop, there are several opportunities to contribute to scientific knowledge about birds and the natural world. Programs like eBird, New York’s Breeding Bird Atlas, Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s NestWatch, and the Great Backyard Bird Count rely on volunteer birders to contribute sightings to a centralized database.

The 2023 I BIRD NY Challenge, open to all ages, ends on Nov. 1.

The 2023 I BIRD NY Challenge is open to all ages and ends on Nov. 1. To complete the challenge, participants are required to identify any 10 bird species of their choosing and submit a challenge sheet to DEC that can be found at DEC’s website. Challenge sheets may be submitted online via Survey Monkey or sent via email or mail. Entries must be received by Nov. 17. Entry forms are also available in Spanish. All participants will be awarded a commemorative patch, given a completion certificate, and entered into a drawing for great birding prizes. Two youth and two adult winners will be chosen. Participants will also receive an extra prize entry for providing a photo documenting their challenge experience. As an extra bonus, the first 50 participants will receive a special goodie bag of birding swag items.

Challenge Sheets

Birding enthusiasts can visit I Bird NY to access this year’s challenge sheets, as well as find information on where and how to watch birds, upcoming birding events, a downloadable Beginner’s Guide to Birding (also available in Spanish), and additional resources. Those interested may also opt to sign up for DEC’s monthly birding newsletter, Words of a Feather, to have birding tips and tricks, New York State Birding Trail site recommendations, events, and more delivered right to one’s inbox.

Eastern Bluebird

Additional Birding Resources

The DEC emphasizes that, “You don’t need a lot to get started birding-just a good pair of binoculars, a desire to be outdoors, and a destination. Some people like to use a checklist/life list of common species they might find around their home so they can keep track of what they have observed.”

Here are some links provided by the DEC:

View the DEC list of bird species fact sheets for information about some species you may see nearby.

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