By Jennie Duberstein, ABA Young Birder Program Liaison

On April 1, 2012 we announced the winners of the 2012 Young Birder of the Year Contest: 16-year-old Marie McGee and 11-year-old Zach Marchuk. Stay tuned later this week to read more about the accomplishments of these remarkable young birders.

Pages from Zachary M Field 2011Page from Zach Marchuk's field notebook.

In the meanwhile, NOW is the time to register for the 2013 contest! How would you like to improve and expand your birding skills under the guidance of some of the most respected birders in North America and have a lot of fun in the process? If you are between the ages of 10 and 18 and enjoy any or all aspects of birding, then the ABA Young Birder of the Year Contest is for you!

The ABA YBY contest appeals to a broad range of interests and talents. Do you like to take detailed field notes on birds? Draw or photograph birds? Write about birds? Do you dream of being involved in bird conservation or bird-related community action? If so, then you should enter.

MMcGee BTLHBroad-tailed Hummingbird, by Marie McGee

There are five modules in the contest. Two are major (Field Notebook, Conservation/Community Action) and the other three are supporting (Illustration, Writing, and Photography). You must either complete both major modules or one major and two minor modules to be eligible for the overall Young Birder of the Year title.

  • Field notebook: Take field notes and make field sketches of birds as or immediately after you observe them in the field. Keeping such records is universally recognized as one of the very best means of sharpening your birding skills.
  • Conservation/Community Action: Pick a project involving conservation, education, or inspiring the enjoyment and/or protection of wild birds in others. Get it approved, carry it out, and document what you’ve done through writing, pictures, and/or video.
  • Illustration: Make detailed drawings or paintings of birds that you see and that interest you most.
  • Writing: Write about birds, birders, birding, and your experiences with any or all of them, whether it is poetry, short story, essay, or other prose.
  • Photography: Photograph birds digitally to highlight their beauty, behavior, identification, or emotional impact.

More information about the 2013 Young Birder of the Year Contest, including complete details about how to enter, updated registration forms, and more, is available on the ABA website.

Still have some questions? Contact Bill Stewart, ABA's Young Birder Program Coordinator.

Good luck!