The Dawson Memorial Shield was a trophy awarded by the Gould League of Bird Lovers to the winning team in a Bird Call competition held every two years in Sydney from 1912.
In 1952 the Merimbula Public School Principal inaugurated and organised a District Schools’ Bird Day Festival (which continued until 1964) that included a bird call competition. From 1953, a team of the best bird callers from bush schools on the NSW Far South Coast would travel to compete in the Sydney competition. For many, it was their first trip to the city. Often imitating bird calls that city kids had never heard before, the South Coast children won the competition six times between 1953 and 1962.
The local bird call competition was revived in 2017.