Young Birders Club
The Tampa Audubon Society and Florida Avian Conservation have teamed up to start a new bird club, the Florida Young Birders Club, in the Tampa Bay region. The club is for youth ages 9 to 17. If you know any youth interested in learning more about birds, bird watching, conservation and environmental careers, this is the group for them! This is an opportunity for young birders to meet other kids their own age and to share their love of birds.
During the winter and spring of 2020/2021, we offered a few outings to local birding hotspots to young birder: we started with a visit to Lettuce Lake Park, then went to a neighborhood wading bird rookery in Northdale, and ended with two consecutive trips to Fort DeSoto.
The first visit to Fort Desoto in April 2021 was to look for warblers, tanagers and vireos. Despite a very slow migration, we got good looks at Chestnut-Sided Warblers, American Redstarts and a few others in the north beach woods. The adult birders really loved seeing younger birders in the field.
Our second trip to Fort Desoto focused on shorebirds. We met Audubon Florida biologist Abigail Gibson, who showed the kids birds in the protected area. Then we walked to Outback Key for a look at Snowy Plover and Least Tern chicks. Seeing the cute baby birds was a big hit with the young birders. We hope to squeeze in an outing to St. Pete Beach to see nesting Black Skimmers before school starts.
We plan to offer at least one field trip a month for club kids to various birding hotspots or natural areas with unique or imperiled birds, like Florida Scrub Jays and Burrowing Owls. We also hope to expand the club to other parts of Florida and have a one-day mini-conference for young birders (like they do in other states).
If you know any young birders in the Tampa Bay Area, please direct them to the Florida Young Birders Club Facebook page for information about outings and details on how to join. They can also contact the organizers via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. or Jim McGinity of Florida AVian Conservation at (727)667-2926 or email@example.com. For information about how Young Birders Clubs work, visit the Young Birders Network website.