This year, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day while encouraging compliance with state shelter-in-place orders, CNC is shifting the annual Earth Day Birding Festival to an online format. CNC’s “Safe-at-Home Youth Birding Competition” aims to give youth a FREE, fun opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, observe birds near their homes, enjoy spring and win prizes. Feel free to share fun stories from your birding adventures and photos of your teams in action to the Facebook event page.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Teams are encouraged to count all species seen and heard within sight of their roof top within 24 hours on April 18th, 2020. Teams can be siblings in one household, or youth who coordinate their species list electronically with friends in another house to create one team. Team age-groups are 10 & under, 11-15 years, and 16-18 years.
Although our festival normally focuses the competition count area in our immediate geographical area, we understand that this year youth cannot travel to the Hastings area due to COVID-19 restrictions. This year youth may participate in the competition if they live, and count birds, outside the Hastings area. If you have a friend or family member in Florida who would like to join your team, all are welcome!
WHAT AM I LOOKING FOR?
To encourage amateur birders, we are providing checklists of commonly-spotted local birds, which you can access and download by clicking the following links.
In years past, teams have spotted up to 100 different species of birds during the Hastings Area Birding Festival. With the addition of team members outside the Hastings area, we expect this year’s list to showcase a huge range of species! If your count location is outside our local area, you may have luck checking with your local birdwatching organization or department of natural resources. If you are having difficulty finding a check list, please contact Jennifer@CarpenterNatureCenter.org and we’ll see what we can do to find you a good species list for your area.
HOW DO I GET MY PRIZE?
All youth in the first 50 teams to register AND submit a completed bird check list by the next morning (April 19, 2020 at 8 a.m.) will win prizes, whether they observe 1 species, or 100+ species. Participants are encouraged to collect their prizes at CNC AFTER the shelter-in-place order expires which is currently May 4, 2020 in Minnesota. Staff can mail prizes to participants, however the winner’s guardians will need to pay for the shipping costs by credit card.
Prizes currently include bird feeders, bird feeding supplies, bird houses, binoculars, bird-friendly yard guides, etc. Our hope is that if more than 50 teams register, we will be able to recruit additional prizes to award. If you want to donate additional prizes, creative ideas are welcomed and could include gift cards to bird stores, gift certificates for treats for young birders like ice cream, bird coloring books, etc., anything that youth nature enthusiast might enjoy.
HOW DO I SIGN UP?
The online competition is FREE to all participants. Please email Jennifer@CarpenterNatureCenter.org with your team name, team location(s), age bracket, and number of team members. Please include an adult guardian’s contact information for coordinating prize distribution. Due to the state shelter-in-place order, there will not be staff at the Nature Center to take phone calls.
Please feel free to contact Jennifer@CarpenterNatureCenter.org with any additional questions not answered on this page.
We will also be updating our website throughout the competition to include answers to any other Frequently Asked Questions. Please feel free to share this page with any interested potential participants. All skill levels are welcome!
HOW DO I SUBMIT MY FINAL LIST?
When you’re done, simply submit your final list to Jennifer@CarpenterNatureCenter.org. You can use one of the “official” checklists above, you can write it out on a sheet of paper, you can use an spreadsheet on your computer– whatever is easiest for you!
Please try to submit before the deadline of 8:00 AM on Sunday, April 19th. You can email it as an image attachment, type it out, send an Excel sheet, attach it to carrier pigeon (just kidding). What’s most important to us is that you play and HAVE FUN!
HOW MANY TEAMS ARE PARTICIPATING, AND WHERE ARE THEY FROM?
As of 4/18/2020 at 3:00pm, there are 44 teams registered and counting!
One of the most entertaining aspects of managing the registration has been reading the creative team names!
1. The Cove Cardinals-Hudson, WI
2. The Waxing Gibases-White Bear Lake, MN
3. The Tweet Hearts- Cottage Grove, MN, Hastings, MN, and Jacksonville,FL
4. Beckenators-Hastings, MN
5. Pugnacious Peregrines-Hastings, MN
6. Kanye Nest-Hudson, WI
7. Eagle Eye-Sauk Center & Shevlin, MN
8. Little Turkey Tom Peepers -Savage, MN
9. Bird Brains -Hudson, WI
10. Wandering Warblers – Farmington, MN & Robin’s, IA
11. The Hudson Blue Jays- Hudson, WI
12. A Team – Cannon Falls, MN
13. Bluebill Browns -Mendota Heights, MN
14. The Bored Bluebirds-Prescott, WI
15. Team Higgins -Stillwater, MN
16. Bird Boys- Woodbury, Cottage Grove and Two Harbors, MN
17. Halverson Hawks-Rogers, MN
18. The Cardinals -Glenwood, WI
19. Farmyard Falcons-Garden City, MN
20. Pink Ponies and a Hippopata-moose- River Falls, WI
21. Millennium Falcons -Ellisville, MO
22. TBD -Stillwater, MN
23. Loony Loons-Eden Prairie, Burnsville, Minneapolis &Minnetonka,MN
24. Cali Kids- San Jose, CA
25. A Chirp Off the Old Block -Hudson, WI & Elysian, MN
26. Rivard Red-tail Hawks- Woodbury, MN
27. The Catbirds-Hastings,MN
28. Team Messick-in honor of Don Messick
29. Daffy Duck -Spring Valley, WI
30. Junco Johnsons -River Falls, WI
31. The Chickadees-Roseville, MN
32. Talented Taylor Talons – Hastings, MN
33. Loony Larks – Cottage Grove, MN & Moffit, ND
34. MonkeyPants- Plymouth, MN
35. The Roneses -Cottage Grove, MN
36. Team Kostka- St Paul Park, MN & Boise, ID
37. Count Birdula -St Paul, MN
38. Knox Family -Prescott, WI
39. Bunny Family – Shoreview, MN
40. Kelcher’s Hawks -White Bear Lake, MN
41. Crazy Cardinals – Hastings, MN
42. S2 Chickadees- Corcoran, MN
43. Sunny Day Bird Watchers – Maplewood, MN
44. Birds Forever – Marine on St. Croix, MN
Overall, we had 41 total teams submit their final species tallies. Click here to view the final species list and a wrap-up of the event!
Team Cali Kids, with 50 species
Team Crushin’ Crossbills, 37 species
TIED FOR THIRD PLACE
Team Loony Larks
Team A Chirp Off the Old Block
36 species each
REGIONAL HIGHEST SPECIES
Crushin’ Crossbills, 37 species
SINGLE REGIONAL HOUSEHOLD with HIGHEST # SPECIES
Team Sunny Day Birdwatchers, 30 species