The Kern Valley Autumn Nature & Vulture Festival celebrates the largest documented migration of Turkey Vultures during their fall migration south. Up to 33,000 vultures migrate through the Kern Valley. Between September 26th and October 3rd up to 4,000 have been documented roosting overnight in the forest along the South Fork Kern River before continuing their journey south.
Vultures begin to gather in large flocks in August and start heading south in earnest by September, with their numbers reaching a crescendo at the end of September. By the end of September the colors of the valley begin their change from green to yellow with the bloom of the rabbitbrush. Many migrating birds and butterflies begin their southward voyage in advance of the approaching winter.
Butterflies of all kinds, including the amazing Great Purple Hairstreak, hatch and begin to nectar on all of the tasty rabbitbrush (or so one would assume it is tasty for butterflies – humans not so much, but in WWII scientists tried to grow the shrub commercially for the rubber like substance in its stems – it didn’t work out).
Volunteers run this free event, which is full of workshops, childrens’ activities, nature walks along 5 miles of trails, nature related vendors, and live animals. While picnic tables are available, no food or potable water is available on site. This is a pack in / pack out facility.