If you enjoy birding in the great State of Texas, then you know that the biggest birding event in the area is just around the corner! The Great Texas Birding Classic (GTBC) is coming up April 24-May 2, aligning perfectly with the spring bird migration in Texas. This birding competition is a sport witha serious conservation purpose. Teams that observe the most bird species win the privilege of choosing which bird conservation projects receive grant money.
To date, the GTBC has contributed $686,000 directly to bird habitat conservation along the Texas gulf coast. Each year, organizations submit conservation project proposals to GTBC for prize funding consideration. The tournament’s mission is to increase appreciation, understanding and conservation of birds along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail through education, recreation, nature tourism and conservation fundraising. The event is sponsored by the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
The GTBC tournament addresses a growing problem that could negatively impact the multi-million dollar birding tourism business in Texas. Currently, 633 species of birds have been documented in the Lone Star State. In fact, over 400 bird species can be found along the Texas coast during spring migration. This rich biodiversity of birds is due to the highly diverse habitats along the Texas coast.
However, each year more and more wildlife habitat are significantly altered. Since 1967 the average population of the common birds in steepest decline has fallen by 68 percent; some individual species nose-dived as much as 80 percent. All 20 birds on the national Common Birds in Decline list lost at least half their populations in just four decades. These findings point to serious problems with both local habitats and national environmental trends. Projects like the Great Texas Birding Classic help by bringing conservation organizations, corporations, and local communities together to preserve native bird habitat.
For more information, visit the Web sites of Gulf Coast Bird Observatory or Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, or contact GTBC Tournament Coordinator Carol Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.