In addition to being a great time for festivals all across the country, late April is also when we join our friends at Ohio Wesleyan in honoring Alexander Wilson on the 200th anniversary of the publication of his American Ornithology.
Gainesville “Old Florida” Birding and Nature Festival
The organizers say that spring is a great time to be in Gainesville, and we agree! Festival-goers will celebrate International Migratory Bird Day and look for Florida Scrub-Jay, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, and other birds at Ocala National Forest, Lochloosa Burnt Island, Cedar Key, Barr Hammock Preserve, and Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. Festival website.
Corpus Christi, Texas
Field trips will visit the hawk watch at Hazel Bazemore County Park, Port Aransas, the King Ranch, Choke Canyon State Park, and other well-known hotspots near Corpus Christi in search of migrants and Reddish Egret, Roseate Spoonbill, Mottled Duck, and other Texas specialties. Photographer Gerrit Vyn, illustrator and naturalist Jen Brumfield, and Jeffrey Kimball, writer, director, and producer of the HBO documentary Birders: The Central Park Effect, will be the featured speakers. Convention website.
Alexander Wilson and the Making of American Ornithology
Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio
This one-day symposium will celebrate the life and accomplishments of Alexander Wilson on the 200th anniversary of the completion of his nine-volume American Ornithology. Edward H. Burtt, Jr., Cincinnati Conference Professor of Zoology at Ohio Wesleyan and co-author of the book Alexander Wilson: The Scot Who Founded American Ornithology (Harvard, 2013), will discuss the science of Wilson’s masterwork. Symposium website.
Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival
Great Dismal Swamp NWR, Virginia
Activities will include guided walks, bus tours, night events, and workshops, and this year, the Virginia Society of Ornithology will hold its annual meeting during the festival. Our friend Alicia King, communication coordinator and Urban Bird Treaty coordinator for the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Migratory Bird Program, will deliver the keynote. Festival website.
Grays Harbor Shorebird & Nature Festival
To understand why we look forward to this festival every year, consider the birds you can see: Black-bellied Plover, Snowy Plover, Spotted Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover, Marbled Godwit, Sanderling, Least Sandpiper, Dunlin, and Short-billed and Long-billed Dowitchers, as well as Red Knot, Whimbrel, Wandering Tattler, and thousands and thousands of Dunlins and Western Sandpipers. John Marzluff, author of the books Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans (2013) and In the Company of Crows and Ravens (2007), will deliver the keynote. Festival website.
Point Reyes Birding & Nature Festival
Point Reyes, California
As many as 200 species are seen during this festival, say the organizers. Better yet, Contributing Editor David Sibley, author of our regular column “ID Toolkit,” will lead a half-day hike on the Point Reyes Peninsula and give the keynote on Saturday evening. Festival website.
Santee Birding and Nature Festival
Santee NWR, South Carolina
Field trips will visit areas in the midlands and coastal plain of South Carolina around Santee National Wildlife Refuge, Santee State Park, and Francis Marion National Forest, a location we featured in “Hotspots Near You.” Festival website.
Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition and Art Festival
Ocean City, Maryland
This sounds like fun. Attendees can look at world-class carvings and sculptures, attend seminars by professional carvers, shop for works of art and carving supplies, see live birds of prey, and enjoy a sunset birding excursion on Delaware Bay. Festival website.
Wings Over the Hills Nature Festival
Field trips will visit Junction, Mountain Home, West Kerr County, and Lost Maples SNA in search of Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo, Painted and Lazuli Buntings, Green Kingfisher, Black-throated Sparrow, and other Hill Country birds. Better yet, photographer and frequent BirdWatching contributor Rolf Nussbaumer will present a workshop on nature photography. Festival website.
Balcones Songbird Festival
Marble Falls, Texas
If you want to see the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo, this is the place to do it. Experts will lead tours in search of both species, plus Painted Bunting, Canyon Towhee, Vermilion Flycatcher, Black-throated Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, and other Hill Country birds at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. Festival website.
Festivals and events
We highlight fun birding events in “Birding Briefs” in every issue of BirdWatching magazine. Most of the events above appeared in our April 2014 issue.
Read about these and other events in our online calendar. You can reach the calendar from any location on our website. Just look for “PHOTOS & CALENDAR” in the black bar at the top of the page. From the pull-down menu, click on “Calendar of events” to view the calendar. Click on “Submit event” to add an event.
Interested in having Editor Chuck Hagner speak at your event? Send an email.