Late January is the time for photographing Sandhill Cranes in Arizona and Tennessee, counting Golden Eagles in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, and enjoying fun festivals in California and Florida. Plus, it’s time for a birding rally in Massachusetts!
Watch eagles in January! Here’s a list of festivals and watches.
Wings over Willcox
Tours will target not only the thousands of Sandhill Cranes that gather each winter in the Sulphur Springs Valley but also mountain birds, hawks, sparrows, and grassland birds. Free seminars will cover native landscaping for wildlife, wildlife photography, astronomy, Ice Age animals and humans, sky islands, basic birdwatching, bats, Sandhill Cranes, lizards, butterflies, and nest-box building. Bill Thompson III, editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest, will be the banquet speaker. Festival website.
Everglades Birding Festival
Field trips will visit Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, the Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands, Okeeheelee Park, STA-5, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Everglades National Park, North Key Largo, and other South Florida hotspots. Festival website.
Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival
Morro Bay, California
Beautiful Morro Bay is a Globally Important Bird Area located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Kimball Garrett, ornithology collections manager at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, will deliver the keynote on Saturday. Jon Young, author of the book What the Robin Knows, will speak on Sunday night. Festival website.
Wintering Golden Eagle Survey
Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin
Every year on the third Saturday in January, volunteers spend three to four hours looking for Golden Eagles that winter regularly in the blufflands of southeastern Minnesota, western Wisconsin, and northeastern Iowa. Join the fun and help increase knowledge of the big birds. For years, they were not considered regular inhabitants of the area. Survey website.
Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival
Birders will celebrate the thousands of Sandhill Cranes and other waterfowl and shorebirds that migrate through or spend the winter on and around the Hiwassee Refuge and the community of Birchwood. State ornithologist Scott Somershoe will present an update on the status of Tennessee’s Golden Eagle population on Saturday. Festival website.
Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival
An annual highlight, the festival will be made even better this year by the presence of BirdWatching contributing Editor Laura Erickson, who will lead field trips. ABA president Jeffery A. Gordon, eBird project co-leader Brian L. Sullivan, master carver Floyd Scholz, and Cape May birders Louise Zemaitis and Michael O’Brien will deliver keynotes. Festival website.
Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway
Field trips will visit six California counties in order to see the millions of migrating waterfowl that call the northern Sacramento Valley home during the winter months. Pelagic birding pioneer Debi Shearwater will deliver the keynote. Festival website.
January 31-February 3
ABA Birding Rally
Marshall Iliff, Jeff and Liz Gordon, Wayne Petersen, Mark Faherty, George Armistead, and other well-known birders will lead field trips to Plymouth-area hotspots and Cape Cod, and up to Cape Ann and Plum Island. $750. Rally website.
We highlight fun birding events in “Birding Briefs” in every issue of BirdWatching magazine. Most of the events above appeared in our February 2014 issue.