2021 ABA Young Birders of the Year

by Ioana Seritan

The American Birding Association is thrilled to announce the results of the 2021 ABA Young Birder of the Year program.

The ABA Young Birder of the Year mentoring program exists to encourage and develop the talents of birders between the ages of 10-18. Begun in 1998, it has an incredible track record of influencing up and coming leaders of the birding community and helping them develop their skills.

Participants choose among five modules: Field Notebook, Conservation and Community Leadership, Photography, Illustration, and Writing. They work on their submissions from April through October, at which point they submit their portfolios to our panels of judges/mentors.

These mentors, all volunteers, include many of the ABA community’s foremost artists, conservationists, and field ornithologists. The mentors spend many hours evaluating the entries and crafting detailed feedback. This feedback is intended to help the young birders evolve, adapt, and grow. The mentors frequently share that they learn from and are inspired by the entries, as well.

All participants who complete even one of the five modules have accomplished a huge feat. We honor the hard work of every single young birder who participated in this year’s program, especially considering the added difficulties of COVID-19.

Those who complete both of the “major” modules (Field Notebook and Conservation & Community Leadership) or one of those major modules plus two of the “minor” ones (Photography, Illustration, or Writing) are eligible to be named ABA Young Birder of the Year in either the 10-13 or 14-18 age categories. Achieving that level of distinction is a major achievement.

This year, the ABA offers special congratulations to Katie Warner, 13, of Vancouver, WA, and Joaquin Galindo, 17, of McAllen, TX, the 2021 ABA Young Birders of the Year. Your work stood out among a distinguished field and we salute your efforts!

As the top finishers, Katie and Joaquin will each receive a pair of Kowa Genesis binoculars generously donated by Kowa Sporting Optics.

Katie Warner

Joaquin Galindo

Click here to see the complete list of all of the module winners.

We would also like to thank our wonderful mentors. These dedicated birders give freely of their time and energy to encourage and educate each of the young birders who participate. Their comments are priceless and keep kids coming back year after year.

The ABA young birder programs are made possible thanks to the ABA members who fund this program through their generous donations.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in this prestigious competition! Stay tuned in the coming months to see excerpts from entries, interviews with the winners, and more.

The 2022 program begins in April of 2021 so mark your calendars! For more information, contact the American Birding Association headquarters at (800) 850-BIRD (2473) or (302)-838-3660, email us, or look for contest details on the ABA website.

The ABA Young Birder of the Year Contest is sponsored by  Sporting Optics and