Search begins for the Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder

31 May 2022 | No. 2022-26

The BTO and the Spurn Bird Observatory Trust are once again on the lookout for the UK’s best young birders. This year’s Spurn Migration Festival (9–11 September) will play host to the latest edition of the Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder event, an annual celebration of the identification skill and dedication of bird lovers aged 16 and under. The event shares the aims of the late Martin Garner, a knowledgeable and inspirational birder who encouraged so many others with his passion, expertise and hunger to explore the limits of bird identification.

To take part, all you need to do is head to and fill in a questionnaire that gives you a chance to showcase your passion for birds. It covers things like the birding you do, how you record the birds you see, what activities you’re involved in and any tales you may have from your birding life. There are a few questions to test your bird ID knowledge of regularly occurring British birds, too. There are two age categories: 13 and under, and 14 to 16. The closing date is Friday 3 July.

Six finalists will be chosen to join our friendly judges for a day’s birding at Spurn on 10 September. It’s a fantastic location with excellent opportunities for seawatching, experiencing visible migration, watching birds on the Humber Estuary and in the bushes. Show us what you know and then answer a couple of theory questions back at base. The winner in the senior age category will take home a pair of Swarovski binoculars while junior winner will receive a pair of binoculars from Opticron. All finalists will win memberships of organisations including BTO, British Birds, the Spurn Bird Observatory Trust and the Oriental Bird Club. 

You must be 16 or under on 10 September and able to attend Spurn Point, East Yorkshire, accompanied by parent or guardian.

Sarah Harris, Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder organiser, says: ‘We can’t wait to see who comes forward to take part in the Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder event! Each year of the competition, it has been an absolute joy to read about the birding passion from young birders across the UK, and then to meet the finalists over the MigFest weekend. It’s always a really relaxed and enjoyable morning’s birding with some really inspirational young birders. Roll on MGSYB 2022 – good luck everyone!"

Jenny Allan, Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder 2020 finalist, says: ‘The Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder gave me the opportunity to visit Spurn Bird Observatory and see some very cool birds (like Rosefinch and Long-tailed Skua), and meet other like minded people, even ones my own age (a rarity!). It was a very good weekend!"

Contact Details

Tom Stewart (BTO Media Manager)
Mobile: 07585 440910
Email: press [at]

Mike Toms (Head of Communications)
Mobile 07850 500791
Email: press [at] (subject: News%20release%20enquiry)

Images are available for use alongside this News Release. These can be downloaded from this link for which you will need to enter the password MGSYB202226. Alternatively, please contact press [at] quoting reference 2022-26.

Notes for editors

The highly respected birder, ornithologist and author Martin Garner was a committee member at Spurn Bird Observatory until his untimely passing in 2016. More information can be found here. Martin was keen to support young birders with real potential and agreed to give his name to a competition to be organised each year to find Britain’s best young birder.

BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Belfast (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations.

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