Resources for Young Birders
You don’t have to go to Ecuador or South Africa or even Arizona to see amazing birds . . . western New York is full of opportunities for young birders to experience birds up close as well as in the field! Here are some links that can help you connect with other young birders and with adult birding mentors, discover unique birding events in the western New York area, and most importantly – find more birds!
Western New York Young Birders is a facebook community for youth and their bird mentors to find youth-friendly birding events, field trips, and other opportunities in western New York. You’ll also find hints on being a better birder, quizzes, scholarship and camp opportunities, and more. Most importantly, it provides a link between young birders so they can share their interests with others.
Young Birders is a site sponsored by the American Birding Association to connect young birders. They offer contests as well as information on camps and scholarships, bios of other young birders, and tips on how to be an amazing birder.
Young Birders Network provides resources for young birders to connect and learn, while giving their adult advocates resources to encourage and support. This is a national network organized by Black Swamp Bird Observatory and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. They maintain a list of camps and scholarships, offer advice on pursuing a career in ornithology, and a whole host of other things.
Braddock Bay Bird Observatory is an internationally known and respected research and education facility. Situated on the shores of Lake Ontario near Rochester NY, the observatory catches and bands (and then releases) thousands of birds each year. The Observatory is open to the public in the mornings during migration so that anyone can come see the birds up close, and they offer special events – including a Bird Banding Camp for teenagers – at other times. They also offer volunteer opportunities throughout the banding season.
Braddock Bay Raptor Research focuses on birds of prey that move along the lakeshore near Rochester, NY. Each spring, they count as many raptors as they can – sometimes tallying thousands in a single day. They also catch, band, and release migrating raptors throughout the spring and late summer, and they hold several events throughout the year from day-camps to owl prowls to their famous Bird of Prey Days in late April.
Buffalo Audubon Society offers a wide variety of nature programming for kids, including a Jr. Audubon Club with monthly meetings aimed at young birders from 8-16. They also support kids as they participate in several citizen science projects including the Christmas Bird Count for Kids, the Great Backyard Bird Count, Project Feederwatch, and Hummingbirds at Home.
New York State Young Birders Club is a special project of the New York State Ornithological Association. Club activities include field trips, an annual conference, and other activities.
Rochester Birding Association sponsors a Young Birders Club, which coordinates lots of events focused on birders ages 10-18, and they maintain a good list of links of interest to young birders. The Young Birders Club page is being updated – so check back soon! Besides their youth activities, the RBA gets birders of all ages together to go on birding field trips, listen to speakers talk about interesting bird research, and share their interest in birds.