As the Biggest Week of American Birding draws to a close, we assembled a regional bird festival sampler so you can plan your summer adventures. Grab your gear, field guide, map and binoculars and hit the road.
Eastern U.S. and mid-Atlantic
May 23-26, 2014
Down East Spring Birding Festival, Trescott Township, Maine
In its 11th year, this event has self-guided exploration, boat tours and guided hikes during the spring migration and breeding season. More than 300 species, including the Atlantic Puffin, Black Guillemot and Common Eider, have been spotted in the eastern Maine Cobscook Bay area. Non-resident registration is $85.
May 29-June 1, 2014
Acadia Birding Festival, Acadia National Park, Maine
Travel south from Trescott Township to the Gulf of Maine where terns, Razorbills and other offshore water birds are plentiful. Last year more than 150 species were seen. Register here and choose from individual events for a fee.
June 5-8, 2014
The Canaan Valley Birding Festival, Davis, West Virginia
Within this high elevation boreal habitat bird and nature lovers will see and hear Bobolinks, Henslow Sparrows, a variety of warblers (Blackburnian, Cerulean, Chestnut-sided and Golden-winged) and perhaps a breeding Bittern. Prices vary from 1-day registration for $79 to a 3-day guess pass for $133; a 3-night package is $524 and a 2-night hotel package is $377. Register here and download the brochure for details.
May 15-18, 2014
17th annual Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
The three-day program offers à la carte workshops that include birding basics, photography tips and a documentary about the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon. Tour Bisson Lake and South Marsh where you may see a Greater Prairie Chicken, Marbled Godwit, Wilson’s Phalarope and various waterfowl and shorebirds.
May 30-June 1, 2014
Door Islands Bird Festival, Washington Island, Wisconsin
This is the eighth annual event in beautiful Door County where 13 islands dot the peninsula on Lake Michigan, which were once inhabited by Native American tribes. Basic registration for the 2-day event is $30. Take a ferry from Washington Island to Rock Island to possibly glimpse an Indigo Bunting, a Yellow Billed Cuckoo or a Yellow Throated Vireo.
June 6-8, 2014
Cerulean Warbler Weekend, Barry County, Michigan
Like those blue birds? Michigan Audubon says Barry County is a “top spot” for viewing Cerulean Warblers, a variety of sparrows and Willow Flycatchers. Select the tickets you would like to order and register before June 1.
August 16, 2014
Henderson Hummingbird Hurrah, Henderson, Minnesota
Here is a chance to go beyond your own backyard for a free, one-day event organized so you can potentially see dozens of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Watch banding demonstrations, let the kids participate in children’s activities and tour the Hummingbird Mall.
May 14-18, 2014
Spring into Yellowstone Birding and Wildlife Festival, Cody, Wyoming
See the Greater Yellowstone region come to life with its indigenous birds, wildlife and ruggedly beautiful habitat. Take a look at the Wyoming state bird checklist there is a wide range of possible bird viewing. Some tours are sold out but you can still meet Luke Seitz, a 20-year-old birder who has logged more than 2,100 birds for a field sketching workshop ($55) or take the “Harlequines, Hot Springs and Bears: Lehardy Rapids in Yellowstone National Park” tour ($75). Contact Tia Brown, 307/587-2777 at events.codychamber.org for last-minute registration details.
June 11-15, 2014
Potholes and Prairie Birding Festival, Carrington, North Dakota
Spend four days touring remote birding hotspots in the wild prairie with wetlands and meadows. This well organized 12th annual event has a complete schedule, list of tour and seminar descriptions, and tour guide biographies. Last year some 148 species were recorded. Registration is $135/day or $375 plus lodging for the full festival.
Colorado Field Ornithologists Annual Convention, Sterling, Colorado
You can participate in field trips and be on the lookout for early fall migrations. Join the team challenge identification and register for a banquet speaker session with Sandy Komito, author of “I Came, I Saw, I Counted,” who in 1998 individually logged a record 748 bird species in one year.
June 7, 2014
The Front Range Birding Company Festival & Open House, Littleton, Colorado
Live Bald Eagle, Great Horned Owl and Peregrine Falcon presentations from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the day local artists will have a craft fair and at 2 p.m. the annual “Dove Race for Youth” will take place when 100 white homing pigeons are released as a local charity fundraising event.
November 18-23, 2014
Festival of the Cranes, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
Plans are underway but you can check out the 2013 program which features guided hikes, a fine arts show, a junior naturalist tour, and an opportunity to learn how wildlife biologists band ducks.
July 30-August 2, 2014
2014 Southwest Wings Birding Nature Festival, Sierra Vista, Arizona
This 23rd annual event will feature field trips, exhibits, and keynote speaker Ed Harper, a photographer who has captured stunning East African wildlife images. There are free events and you can do some local birding on your own.
October 2-4, 2014
John L. Borom Alabama Coastal BirdFest, Five Rivers Delta Resource Center, Spanish Fort, Alabama
Wildlife enthusiasts and birders can take part in 16 excursions during the fall migration at the source where five rivers converge: the Mobile, Spanish, Tensaw, Apalachee and Blakely. Featured keynote speaker is Dr. Erik Johnson
October 3-5, 2014
Wings & Wildflowers Festival, Leesburg, Florida
Take in birds and flowers in one trip with this full roster of events, field trips, workshops, exhibits and activities. Spend time looking for any of Lake County’s 200 different bird species, such as a Florida Scrub-Jay or take in the multitude of colorful native wildflowers. You can become a sponsor for this third annual event at the Venetian Gardens.
September 5-7, 2014
Puget Sound Bird Fest, Frances Anderson Center, Edmonds, Washington
Join birdwatchers that flock annually flock to this free general admission festival. Join in a host of events, such as a birding cruise, guided walks and tours, interpretive activities at Edmonds Marsh, and an opportunity to mingle with fellow birders. Register here and see the checklist of birds that have been previously spotted at this event, now in its ninth year.
November 8-9, 2014
Marysville Swan Festival, Swan Central Venue & Expo, Marysville, California
Witness the return of the spectacular Tundra Swans and other winter waterfowl as they migrate to the North Sacramento Valley. Choose from a variety of field trips and workshops. Preview the 2013 program and contact Steven Dambeck, 530/701-3577 for updates and information.
Birdwatcher’s Digest festival finder
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Alaskan bird festivals
(left) banner graphic: Project Passenger Pigeon