Looking for a peaceful hobby to pick up this summer?  The New York Department of Environmental Conservation is challenging people to take up bird watching.

Ok, we know the reputation that bird-watching has.  But if you're looking for a great way to connect with the outdoors and maybe spend some time with someone close, this could be a fun thing to try this summer.  Whether you're looking for something to do with a spouse or maybe something for your kids to do this summer, this will keep them busy.

What is bird watching?

Bird watching is a hobby where you simply observe birds in their natural habitat.  Some people call it birding.  You can do it with your naked eye or with binoculars.  All you do is just go outdoors and look for birds to see how many you can find.

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How many birds are there in New York State?

According to the DEC, there are over 450 species of birds that live here in New York State.  That's a huge scavenger hunt to enter!

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New York is challenging people to find as many as they can this summer

With such a huge number of birds that live here in New York, the Department of Environmental Conservation is challenging people to find as many native birds as they can with the "I Bird New York Challenge."

They're asking people to get outside and see how many they can find this summer.  Then they want you to enter them on this online form, or fill this one out and send it in to them.

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Everyone who completes the challenge will get a patch and a completion certificate and will get entered to win "birding prizes."  There's a bonus for people who send in photos too!

The challenge is open to all ages but is limited to one entry per person.  The challenge will go on through November 1st, 2024 and all entries must be received by November 15th, 2024.  Click here for more details.

29 Beautiful Backyard Birds of New York State

These are 29 of the most common birds found in New York.

Gallery Credit: Traci Taylor

Most Eye-Catching Bugs, Birds & Reptiles Native to Broome County, NY

Most Eye-Catching Bugs & Reptiles Native to Broome County, NY

How to Make a Pumpkin Bird Feeder

I can't take credit for inventing this clever fall-themed bird feeder. I actually saw it first posted by the Farmer's Almanac. This is the Pumpkin Birdfeeder I made with a Hudson Valley pumpkin and some birdseed grown in the USA. Nature arts and crafts at my house turned out to be really easy and fun to watch once the squirrels and chipmunks found it.

Gallery Credit: Paty Quyn