Bird Watching Festivals – Flock to the Fun!

If you’re in the market for a great way to spend a day, check out your local bird watching festivals. Most states have
several fairs and festivals going on during the year, and they are an excellent way to get outside, learn something new, make new friends and have fun.

Bird watching festivals last from a simple one day event to a full month of outings, activities and lectures. The most common are over a weekend, and can range from small local events at a nearby park, to large-scale events that bring visitors from all over the globe, with events spread throughout an entire region. Depending on the specific
event, you will have the opportunity to hear knowledgeable speakers, observe live birds up close, take guided walks, get pointers on better wildlife photography, sharpen your identification skills, share experiences with like-minded folks, and even take more exotic outings, such as bird watching by boat or on horseback. Often there are artists, vendors, children’s activities, and the like.

Many bird watching festivals center on a specific event taking place in the local area, migration being a particular favorite. Another popular theme is the celebration of specific species found only locally, or perhaps in a particular abundance, such as warblers, shorebirds, cranes or hawks. Many blend other interests with bird watching, such as butterflies, flowers or even music.


Here is a sampling of some of the larger events that take place each spring and summer:

Great Salt Lake Bird Watching Festival

The actual venue of the Great Salt Lake Bird watching festival is usually Farmington, Utah that is very close to Salt Lake. The festival is managed by the Davis County Tourism agency and it attains a huge crowd of tourists from various parts of the world every year. The festival runs for five days during the last two weeks in the month of May every year.

Tourists can enjoy learning about the techniques of bird watching through the specific workshops arranged for kids and adults. These workshops includes various activities including making bird houses, kids may learn birding and anyone can join and learn through lecturers on a variety of available bird species along with their habits, life cycle and other important features. Along with that, you will also be able to enjoy field trips so you can actually enjoy the bird watching activity. You can enjoy traditional bird sighting trips on land while you also can choose to rent kayaks to float around the Salt Lake while enjoying the sight of newly born birds. A huge variety of birds regularly visit the area of Salt Lake every year and therefore it can be a great experience to enjoy a huge variety of birds.

Some of the common birds that a bird watcher may enjoy are Heron, Pelican, Cormorant and Grebe species. Along with that, you will also be able to watch a variety of other species, though, they may not be available in such abundance. The rare American Bald Eagle is one of the main attractions of the Great Salt Lake festival.


The Copper River Delta Shorebirds Festival – Bird Watching Alaska Style

Held in Cordova, Alaska, the Copper River Delta Shorebirds Festival is a bird watcher’s dream come true. Hundreds of thousands birds migrate to the delta for your sighting pleasure.


Copper River Delta Shorebirds Festival

Held every May, the Copper River Delta Shorebirds Festival is the place to be if you want to view shorebirds. Literally millions of birds migrate to the delta on the way to breeding grounds throughout the Arctic. The little town of Cordova knows a good thing when it sees it.

The Copper River Delta is essentially a refueling spot for the migrating birds. As you probably know, migrating birds will haul tail when the migration urge overcomes them. Many of these birds will fly for days on end until they must have food. In the grand plan, Mother Nature has arranged for the river delta to be the fast food stop for these birds.

Due to the frenetic pace undertaken by the migrating birds, food becomes a major issue. As they arrive at the Copper River Delta, they land and eat…and eat…and eat. It is the rare opportunity where you get to see so many birds grounded for such a long period of time. Put another way, it is a deluxe bird watching opportunity.



So, what can you expect to see on the delta? With so many birds, I’m not going to go into specifics other than to say you can see a wide variety of Loons, Grebes, Herons, Swallows, Yellowlegs, Tattlers, Sandpipers, Swans, Chickadees, Wrens, Ducks, Thrushes, Magpies, Warblers, Alcids, Finches, Jaegers and Turns to mention only a few. Put another way, you won’t run out of things to see.


Getting There

Getting to Cordova isn’t the easiest of things to do. You’ll have to fly in from Anchorage, Juneau or Seattle. Alternatively, you can hop on one of the Alaskan ferries, but need to look into the specific mechanics involved.

It is the rare day indeed when a birder can view millions of birds in their natural habitat. The Copper River Delta Shorebirds Festival offers you that day every year.


Florida’s First Coast Bird watching and Nature Festival, St.Augustine, Florida

Experience northeast Florida’s abundant bird life and photogenic natural beauty at more than 170 exciting birding and outdoor photography events during the 2015 Florida’s Birding & Photo Fest! In addition to the ever-popular nature tours and excursions, new discoveries for this year’s event include workshops on preparing your images and composition, photographing birds in flight, selections and layer masking, flash techniques and many in-field photography workshops.The festival is headquartered at the GTM Research Reserve, located 8 miles north of St. Augustine on A1A N. Discover the region’s phenomenal bird life and the abundant natural habitats that sustain them with bird walks and boat and kayak trips to undisturbed areas. This Festival is guaranteed to excite nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.

Other activities include kayaking, walking tours, photography expeditions. Learn about outdoor photography, bird watching, wildlife, butterflies, and much more.


Horicon Marsh Bird Watching Festival, Wisconsin

Horicon Marsh, this vast wetland is both a State Wildlife Area and a National Wildlife Refuge. Originally established as habitat for migrating and nesting ducks, it has since become a stopover for Canada Geese.

Today, Horicon Marsh is increasingly recognized and managed as a wetland ecosystem for all of its plants and animals. Horicon Marsh has been designated as a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention and a Global Important Bird Area by the American Bird Conservancy. No group of wildlife better represents the vitality of this marsh better than its birds. Over the years, a total of 304 species of birds have been sighted on this marsh.

Activities during the festival include bird banding, birding by pontoon, hikes, talks, and the “big sit”, where participants try to observe as many species as possible from a 17-foot observatory platform from midnight Friday till dark on Saturday.


Festival of Birds, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

You don’t want to waste any time in birders’ paradise – Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. More than 250 species of birds live in Becker County. Why? Because the Detroit Lakes area is in the heart of a transition zone of tall grass prairie, northern hardwood and conifer forest ecosystems. Serious birders flock here each spring for the annual Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds. Over 170 species seen last year, field trips, frog/toad outing, workshops, exhibitors.

The bird watching location, nestled in the woods just 3 miles east of Detroit Lakes, Detroit Mountain opened their new lodge in November 2014. It’s the perfect nature setting for the Festival of Birds, with a view of the city from the second highest point in Becker County.

Festival attendees throughout the years have learned much about birds, wildlife and the environment through presenters such as John Fitzpatrick, John Marzluff, Joel Greenberg, Rosalind Renfrew, Sue Leaf, Drew Wheelan, Charlie Walcott, Richard Crossley, Scott Wiedensaul, David Sibley, Bill Thompson III, Laura Erickson, Don and Lillian Stokes, Kenn Kaufmann, Dr. Paul Johnsgard, Stan Tekiela, Dr. James Grier, Sharon Stiteler, Al Batt, Jeff Gordon, Joe Hautman and Jeb Barzen.

The Festival of Birds will offer plenty of field trips for birding, workshops for learning, and socials for meeting and making friends. Find out fascinating facts on bees and the latest updates on loon research at our free Saturday workshops. Check out the exhibitors, book signings and of course, lots of good food to keep you energized. We’ll take you to new birding spots and return to some of your favorites.

In recent years, birders have checked these species off their list: Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Rough-legged Hawk, Chestnut-collared Longspur, LeConte’s and Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows, Rock Wren, Golden-winged and Northern Parula Warblers, Alder Flycatcher and Black-backed Woodpecker.

That said, any time of year, we welcome you to check out several sites along the Pine to Prairie International Birding Trail that are near Detroit Lakes.


Potholes and Prairie Bird Watching Festival, Jamestown, North Dakota

Four days on a prairie wild with wetlands and wavy, open meadows. Here is your chance to visit some of the world’s most remote birding hotspots. Join your peers, bring your lists and be ready for four full days of guided tours, hands-on workshops, wonderful people, distinctive culture and wild country.


Bird Watching In The Adirondacks

Upstate New York is known for the fun and beauty that can be found in the Adirondacks. Bird watching in the Adirondacks is excellent and a combination of all the things that make the Adirondacks great.

Bird Watching in the Adirondacks

The Adirondacks are a mountain range in northeastern New York State. It is best know as a popular winter resort area with a long history of entertaining celebrities of a sort. Less well known is the fact that the area is a great place to pick up additions to your life list.

During the summer of 2005, Hamilton County held the first Adirondack Birding Festival to honor the birds whose habitat lie within the region. The festival encouraged the participation in hikes, canoe trips and nature walks to watch over 100 species nest in Adirondacks’ Hamilton County, home to the Bicknell’s thrush, a rare songbird only found in mountaintop forests of the Northeast. Other birds that can be seen during the festival include the Common Raven, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Golden-Crowned Kinglet to mention only a few.

The Adirondacks are home to many boreal bird species. Some of them include the Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Palm, Blackpoll Warblers, Yellow-Bellied, Olive-Sided Flycatchers and other species. The boreal chickadee is also native to the Adirondacks, but lives in Hamilton County. While bird watchers can find birds like the gray jay or black-backed woodpecker throughout the year, the migrating birds are seen in June. To find them, just keep quiet and listen for their singing, which announces their arrival to the Adirondack region. Once the migration begins, the area is flush with a wide variety of species and sightings can be made while driving along. Try not to crash!

The Adirondack Regional Tourism Council has also developed a ton of information devoted to education on birding in the Adirondacks. The council provides detailed maps and information on 86 Adirondack’s birding sites and more than 300 species in the entire region including specialties such as the Bicknell’s Thrush and Spruce Grouse. Contact them for more information.

Bird watching in the Adirondacks is a great way to get out of the big city. With the wide variety of species and sighting points, your life list is sure to benefit.



Birds, Blossoms & Blues Festival, Norfolk, Virginia. Field trips, walking tours, boat tours, plant sales, blues concerts, family festival.

Spring Wings Bird Watching Festival, Fallon, Nevada. Field trips, including a bird watching by horseback safari, airboat tour, ranch tour, photography contest, and much more.

Great River Bird Watching and Nature Festival, Lake City, Minnesota. 3 days of bird watching and nature events held throughout the Mississippi River Valley of Southeast Minnesota and Southwest Wisconsin around Lake Pepin.
Bird watching by motorboat, mini-railcar, hikes along shorelines, forests, bluff tops, lectures, and more.

Cape May Spring Weekend, New Jersey. 200+ bird species, field trips, workshops, boat trips and more at the
migration mainline capital of North America.

Mountain Lake Migratory Bird Watching Festival, Pembroke, Virginia. Visit the beautiful Mountain Lake Hotel, with 2600 acres of pristine woodlands to take part in dozens of activities – field trips, workshops, fun for the kids.

Kirtland’s Warbler Festival, Roscommon, Michigan. Guided tours to see the Kirtland’s Warbler, nature resentations, crafts, kids’ activities, photography and more.

Bar Harbor Warblers & Wildflowers, Bar Harbor, Maine. Bird walks, peregrine watches, boat rides, garden and
forest tours, art exhibits.

The Feliciana Hummingbird Celebration highlights hummingbirds in the St. Francisville area of Louisiana, including banding and workshops on how to build a hummingbird habitat in your garden.

Southwest Wings. Arizona’s longest running bird watching festival celebrates its 15th year in Bisbee. Natural history tours, birds and butterfly tours, exhibits and programs.

You can find these bird watching festivals and fairs by checking bird watching magazines such as “Birders World” and “Audubon”, by contacting your local Audubon chapter, and by searching the Internet, but the quickest way to
get a comprehensive list is by scanning the Bird watching Event Calendar at

Join the flock at your local bird watching festival, or migrate to a more distant event. Either choice promises a great day of bird watching!

Visit information about festivals section to explore a full list of festivals happening around the world yearly!