The search is on to find the UK’s most knowledgeable young birders!

31 May 2023 | No. 2023-17

Apply now for this year's Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder competition, held at Spurn MigFest in East Yorkshire from 8–10 September.

The competition is a test of bird knowledge and identification skills. It's open to all birders aged 16 and under.

Are you aged 16 or under and passionate about birds and bird identification? Showcase your skills and enthusiasm by taking part in the Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder (MGSYB) competition at this year’s Spurn Migration Festival (MigFest), which will take place 8–10 September. The competition is run by a friendly and welcoming group of fellow birders who are looking forward to meeting you and chatting about all things birds! 

MGSYB shares the aims of the late Martin Garner, a knowledgeable birder who was passionate about sharing his expertise to encourage and inspire others to really study birds and push the boundaries of bird identification.

To take part, simply fill out the online questionnaire by 3 July 2023. It asks you about your birding experiences, including where you watch birds, how you record them and what motivates you to go birding.  There are also a few questions that test your ability to identify birds that regularly occur in the UK. 

Six finalists will be invited to spend a morning birding with our friendly judges on 9 September at Spurn, East Yorkshire. This will give you the chance to showcase your identification skills at an incredible birding hotspot – including seawatching, looking at waders and wildfowl on the Humber Estuary, and searching through scrub for migrants – before heading back to base to answer a few theory questions.  

There are two age categories: 13 and under, and 14 to 16. All finalists will win memberships of organisations including BTO and Spurn Bird Observatory Trust (SBOT), and a subscription to British Birds. The winner in the senior age category will take home a pair of Swarovski binoculars while the junior winner will receive a pair of binoculars from Opticron, both along with further bird-related subscriptions.

To enter you must be 16 or under on 9 September and able to get to Spurn, East Yorkshire, accompanied by a parent or guardian. The closing date is Sunday 9 July. 

Josiah Evans, 2022 junior category winner, said: “The Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder competition was an unforgettable experience. It was a time of making new friends, gaining knowledge and birding. I really enjoyed birding with others of a similar age and learning from more experienced people. Winning the junior category in 2022 was a highlight of my year!”

Sarah Harris, MGSYB coordinator for SBOT and BTO, said: “It is always a great privilege to meet these enthusiastic and skilled young birders, and it’s fantastic that there are now so many different and varied opportunities for young people who are inspired by birds and wildlife. MGSYB is just one example and we hope it will help young birders to build their confidence and passion, and give them the opportunity to meet like-minded people.”

Other MigFest events for young people taking place over the MigFest weekend include walks, talks, ringing demonstrations, a photography competition and lots more! Visit for more information.

You can enter this year’s Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder here:

Contact Details
Tom Stewart
 (BTO Media Manager)
Mobile: 07585 440910
Email: press [at] (subject: News%20release%20enquiry)

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 here with the password MGSYB2023

Notes for editors
Spurn Migration Festival is a collaboration between SBOT and BTO. For more information, please visit

For more information about Spurn Bird Observatory Trust, please visit

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.

For other opportunities for young birders and wildlife lovers, please visit and


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