13 birding events at wildlife refuges in May and June

4/7/2017 | 1

American Avocet is a star of many birding events. This one was at Piute Ponds, California, April 20, 2014.

American Avocet is a star of many birding events. This one was at Piute Ponds, California, April 20, 2014. Photo by Brent Bremer.

National wildlife refuges are great places to look for birds. And because many refuges are located along migration routes, they’re also locations for great birding festivals. Below are 13 fun festivals to put on your calendar in May and June.

View our online calendar of events.

1. International Migratory Bird Day
Second Saturday in May (and year-round)
Western Hemisphere

IMBD is the only international education program that highlights and celebrates the migration of nearly 350 species of birds between nesting habitats in North America and non-breeding grounds in Latin America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Each year, IMBD explores a different aspect of migratory birds and their conservation. This year, many events will take place on May 13. Many wildlife refuges take part. Check the Refuge System special events calendar for listings.

2. Grays Harbor Shorebird and Nature Festival
May 5-7
Hoquiam, Washington

This festival celebrates the migration of shorebirds along the Washington coast. Field trips to birding hotspots, lectures, vendors, exhibitors, and great shorebird viewing take place at Grays Harbor NWR.

3. Horicon Marsh Bird Festival
May 12-13
Southeastern Wisconsin

This weekend-long event provides family-friendly activities and educational experiences designed to showcase the role of Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area and Horicon NWR as an important habitat for birds and wildlife.

4. Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival
May 4-7
Homer, Alaska

Alaska’s largest wildlife festival includes field trips to Alaska Maritime NWR.

5. Biggest Week in American Birding
May 5-14
Northwestern Ohio

Organized by Black Swamp Bird Observatory, this festival takes place at the peak of migration in the Lake Erie marsh region. The festival features field trips to Ottawa NWR and Magee Marsh Wildlife Area.

6. South Dakota Birding Festival
May 5-7
Fort Randall, South Dakota

Lake Andes NWR and Karl E. Mundt NWR are the host locations. The festival offers a rare opportunity to see the Mundt refuge, normally closed to the public, and includes field trips by foot and bus, songbird banding, and presentations.

7. Wings over Muscatatuck Bird Festival
May 13
Seymour, Indiana

The all-day festival at Muscatatuck NWR includes guided bird tours in vans, bird and nature walks, kids’ activities, live birds of prey, birdhouse building, a bird-calling contest, and the Junior Duck Stamp contest awards ceremony.

8. Great Salt Lake Bird Festival
May 18-22
Farmington, Utah

The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is among the festival’s field-trip destinations.

9. Chequamegon Bay Birding & Nature Festival
May 18-20
Ashland, Wisconsin

The 10th annual festival on Wisconsin’s south shore of Lake Superior features field trips to Whittlesey Creek NWR guided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff. Other field-trip and hike destinations include the Moquah Pine Barrens, Bibon Swamp, Morgan Falls, and St. Peter’s Dome.

10. Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds
May 18-21
Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

Tours of Hamden Slough NWR and Tamarac NWR will be part of this year’s festival. There are morning field trips for birding, workshops for learning, exhibitors, and socials.

11. Kenai Peninsula Birding Festival
May 18-21
Kenai, Alaska

This festival includes field trips to Kenai NWR, workshops, kids’ activities, and a Kenai River float with local birding experts.

12. Down East Spring Birding Festival
May 27-29
Near Calais, Maine

This annual festival includes guided hikes, boat tours, and expert presentations. It also features field trips to Moosehorn NWR, one of the event sponsors.

13. Potholes & Prairie Birding Festival
June 14-18
Carrington, North Dakota

Field trips to Arrowwood NWR and Chase Lake NWR are highlights of this festival, which celebrates remote prairie, wetland, and meadow hotspots.

Seven great festivals at national wildlife refuges in April.

See more birding events taking place in May.

Birding events taking place in June.

Add a birding event to our online calendar.


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