Early March is the time to look for Roseate Spoonbills in Florida, Bald Eagles in Maryland, Tundra Swans in Utah, and Mexican specialties in beautiful, hot Puerto Vallarta. It’s also time to go owling in San Diego or attend a symposium in Chicago. Here’s what you need to know.
February 27-March 2
San Diego Bird Festival
San Diego, California
James Currie, host of Nikon’s Birding Adventures, will deliver Friday’s banquet keynote, and Denver Holt, founder and president of the Owl Research Institute, will lead two owling trips and present a luncheon talk. Festival website.
Lake Apopka Wildlife Festival & Birdapalooza
Magnolia Park, Apopka, Florida
The restoration of Lake Apopka, just northwest of Orlando, is beginning to take hold. Over 360 species of birds have been identified — that’s more than can be found at any inland site in the state. During this one-day festival, veteran guides will lead birding tours of the Lake Apopka Restoration Area, and vendors will exhibit birding gear and Old Florida crafts and products. Festival website.
Vallarta Bird Festival
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Birding and nature walks led by expert guides, and talks by local and international authorities will fill this four-day festival in the beautiful Banderas Bay Region, on Mexico’s Pacific coast. Hosted by the Vallarta Bird Conservancy. Check the festival website for field-trip destinations.
Chicago Audubon Society’s Birding America Conference
North Park University, Chicago, Illinois
This year’s symposium will be the tenth. Breakout presenters will describe rewarding local, national, and international places to bird, and special sessions will focus on bird migration and monitoring. Steve Kelling, director of information science at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, will deliver the morning keynote, and columnist, writer, and humorist Al Batt will be the closing speaker. Conference website.
Swan Day Festival
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Brigham City, Utah
Big “O” Birding Festival
See Mottled Duck, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, Snail Kite, and many other Florida specialties at Fisheating Creek WMA, Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest, Spirit-of-the-Wild WMA, Storm Water Treatment 5, Big Cypress Seminole Reservation, and other hotspots west and south of Lake Okeechobee. Festival website.
Wings Over Water Northwest Birding Festival
Wildlife photographer Paul Bannick and writer, photographer, and naturalist Noah Strycker will be the featured speakers at this free multi-day festival, which celebrates the birds and other wildlife of the Pacific Northwest. Bellingham artist Vivian Mazzola has been selected as the featured artist. Festival website.
Blackwater NWR, Maryland
Blackwater NWR, on the Delmarva Peninsula east of Washington, DC, is home to one of the largest breeding populations of Bald Eagles in the United States. Search for the big birds by van with experienced volunteers and staff, join refuge biologists on a tour of the Wildlife Drive from the comforts of a commercial bus, or go birding with a veteran guide. Festival website.
Pelican Island Wildlife Festival
Riverview Park, Sebastian, Florida
Take a boat tour through the Indian River Lagoon to Pelican Island. Sixteen species of birds nest there, including Brown Pelican, Wood Stork, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Reddish Egret, Cattle Egret, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, White Ibis, American Oystercatcher, and Common Moorhen. Festival website.
Festivals and events
We highlight fun birding events in “Birding Briefs” in every issue of BirdWatching magazine. Subscribe. Most of the events above appeared in our April 2014 issue.
Interested in having Editor Chuck Hagner speak at your event? Send him an email.