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‘May Birding Challenge’ hopes to get Fairbanks families excited about birds and nature

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 4:29 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Fairbanks non-profit, The Alaska Songbird Institute (ASI) is hosting a “May Birding Challenge” throughout Fairbanks that will run through the month of May. Organizers say this fundraising activity provides a fun outdoor educational experience for families and individuals of all ages.

JJ Frost of the Alaska Songbird Institute explained the structure of the event. “You’ll get a packet, and it’ll have... not a complete list of every bird that can be found around Fairbanks but a particular set of birds, anywhere from about 10 to about 30, and your goal is to go out and find each species. As you go, you can record when and where you saw it. We’ve got a great Facebook group page set up for people to put up photos or ask questions about identifying birds or learning more about that.”

This is the inaugural year of this spring event. It’s intended for anybody who enjoys being outside, from amateurs with an interest in learning more about local bird species to long time birdwatching hobbyists.

Frost said, “You can form a team either of yourself, an individual... we also really encourage families, it’s a really kid friendly activity. You can register either way, and then depending on your skill level if you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate or expert, there’s three different leagues you can enter.”

Each category has a list of bird species that the participants will need to find, and then report back to the Alaska Songbird Institute at the end of the month with results.

“You’ve got the entire month of May which is of course the heart of spring migration here in interior Alaska, and this is a really exciting time. Everyone is getting outside and places like this, like Creamers and other wonderful open spaces around Fairbanks, are excellent bird habitats. A lot of migratory birds are coming in,” said Frost.

ASI will provide resources and suggested locations to find each species, and all submitted packets will be entered into a drawing for prizes. Although the Challenge officially begins May 1, people can sign up at any time.

For more information and registration, visit aksongbird.org.

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