2024 I Bird NY Challenge

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indigo bunting
Indigo Bunting Credit: USFWS

The 2024 ‘I BIRD NY’ Challenge is open to birders of all ages and abilities, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

The challenge provides opportunities to identify birds and learn about birdlife and awards program finishers with a commemorative I BIRD NY Challenge patch and the chance to win birding equipment.?

“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 for residents and visitors year-round,” DEC Commissioner Seggos said. “I encourage birdwatchers to get outside and check out the 450 different bird species that call New York home.”

New York has more than 350 Birding Trail locations and new locations are added often, making it even easier for New Yorkers to get started with this fun activity.

In March 2022, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the grand opening of the Long Island segment of the New York State Birding Trail.

The Long Island segment includes 20 locations throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties, providing a variety of quality birding experiences for New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy.

Birdwatching is one of the fastest-growing outdoor recreational activities in the U.S. According to the 2022 National Survey of Hunting, Fishing, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, 7.4 million wildlife watchers generated $10.8 billion in New York State in 2022.

This is up from an estimated four million New York resident wildlife viewers spending more than $6.4 billion annually in 2016.

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 I BIRD NY program was launched in 2017 to build on the State’s efforts to increase access to New York’s vast natural resources and promote no- and low-cost opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and connect with nature.

The annual birding challenge saw a 745 percent increase in participation in 2023, with 1,226 birding enthusiasts completing this fun challenge.

The?2024 I BIRD NY Challenge (PDF) is open to all ages and ends on Nov. 1, 2024. To complete the Challenge, participants must identify 10 bird species of their choosing and submit a challenge sheet to DEC.

Birding enthusiasts can visit I BIRD NY to access this year’s challenge sheet, as well as find information on where and how to watch birds, upcoming birding events, a downloadable Beginner’s Guide to Birding (PDF) (also available in Spanish), and additional resources.

source: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Related Information

New York State Birding Trail – Long Island Segment Opening