DEC launches 2021 ‘I BIRD NY,’ annual birdwatching challenge

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FILE – In this Nov. 20, 2020, file photo, a bald eagle grabs a fish from the Susquehanna River near the Conowingo Dam, in Havre De Grace, Md. The number of American bald eagles has quadrupled since 2009, with more than 300,000 birds soaring over the lower 48 states, government scientists said Wednesday in a new report. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

NEW YORK (WWTI) — People can’t stop “raven” about this bird challenge.

On Wednesday, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the start of the 2021 “I BIRD NY” challenges for beginning and experienced birders.

According to Commissioner Seggos, the two levels of the challenge will provide New Yorkers with opportunities to identify birds and learn about birdlife.

Participants will also be offered a chance to win birding equipment.

“No matter where you live or where you come from, birdwatching is a fun, safe activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds,” stated Commissioner Seggos. “This is a particularly great time of year to take up birding or take your birding skills to the next level by observing the many spring migrants arriving every day, particularly here in upstate New York.”

The I Bird NY Beginner’s Birding Challenge is open to anyone 16 years of age and younger. To complete the challenge, participants must identify 10 common New York bird species and submit a challenge sheet to the DEC.

Entries can be mailed or emailed and participants will receive a certificate of completion and entered to win a random drawing.

Additionally, the I Bird NY Experienced Birder Challenge will be offered to participants of any ages. To complete the challenge, birders must identify 10 different bird species found across New York State.

Participants will also receive a certificate and entered into a drawing for birding accessories.

The DEC highlighted the wide-ranging habitat types in New York, including oceanic sandy beaches, Adirondack peaks and Great Lakes shorelines. These habitats support over 450 different bird species throughout the year. Additionally, New York has 59 designated Bird Conservation Areas to safeguard and enhance populations and habitats.

Birding enthusiasts can visit I Bird NY to access the 2021 challenge sheets, as well as find information on where and how to watch birds, upcoming bird walks or other events, a downloadable Beginner’s Guide to Birding and additional resources.

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