For the past 15 years, spring in the Gulf Coast of Texas has meant the Great Texas Birding Classic. Year after year, bird enthusiasts have arrived on the Gulf Coast with binoculars in hand, ready to record each and every bird they see. They have filled Gulf Coast Bed and Breakfasts and they have had a great time.
The purpose of the Birding Classic has always been to increase public awareness about Texas birds and to promote nature tourism. Everyone is encouraged to participate, whether for a day or a week. The truth is, it’s fun to get out in nature and scan the skies and coast for different species of birds. The thrill that accompanies spotting a new species for the first time is hard to match; this is true for seasoned birders and novices alike.
This year, the Great Texas Birding Classic is in transition. The formal competitions of past years, which have lead to conservation grants, will be informal in 2012. No grants will be awarded this year, and teams are allowed to bird when schedules permit, not only during specific dates. That said, the tournament is still unofficially taking place April 14-22.
In 2013, the Great Texas Birding Classic will go statewide. No more will it focus uniquely on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. This will allow many more people to participate, and more birds to be recorded.