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May is one of the best times of the year to go birding, of course, as spring migration kicks into high gear. Many festivals will take place throughout the month to give birders the chance to meet and learn from one another — and see lots of birds!
So many festivals are on tap that we split the list into two parts. View part two here.
Southwest Wings Spring Fling
Tour the Sky Islands region of southeastern Arizona and search for many species of birds, including Elegant Trogon, Spotted Owl, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, and Arizona Woodpecker. Festival website
Festival of Birds
Point Pelee National Park welcomes many species of songbirds during the first weeks of May, coinciding with the Festival of Birds. No fewer than 42 species of warbler have been recorded at Point Pelee. Festival website
Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival
Experience the mass migration of Pacific shorebirds, raptors, waterfowl, and songbirds on the Copper River Delta. Festival website
Tara Wildlife Spring Birding Weekend
View the spring migration of songbirds and more in the Mississippi Flyway. The weekend’s activities combine both casual birding opportunities along with organized tours. Festival website
Tofino Shorebird Festival
The protected forests, expansive mudflats, long sandy beaches, and rocky shorelines of Tofino, British Columbia, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, draw over 40 species of shorebirds to the area, including the largest migratory concentrations of Whimbrels in British Columbia, and impressive flocks of Western Sandpipers, Dunlin and more. Festival website
Biggest Week in American Birding
Immerse yourself in spring songbird migration and experience some of the best birding North America has to offer at this 10-day festival in northwest Ohio, the “Warbler Capital of the World.” Festival website
Red Slough Birding Convention
An ecotourism convention designed to promote McCurtain County, Oklahoma. Last year’s event tallied 157 bird species. Come see them and hear informative presentations from keynote speakers Greg Lasley and Steven Hunter. Festival website
Brew City Birding Festival
Milwaukee’s Urban Ecology Center is hosting this week-long event. Participants will be able to take part in field trips, lectures, family-friendly programs, and other activities. The festival culminates with the popular Green Birding Challenge on May 12. Festival website
Ute Mountain Mesa Verde Birding Festival
Hosted by the Cortez Cultural Center in Cortez, Colorado, this festival draws upon the expertise of regional wildlife specialists. Species seen in the past include gulls, shorebirds, eagles, owls, and more! Festival website
Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival
Alaska’s largest wildlife viewing festival honors the return of spring and its breathtaking bird migration. Homer, Alaska’s seaside setting is perfect for spotting over 130 migratory bird species, as well as numerous other resident species. Festival website
Horicon Marsh Bird Festival
This weekend-long event in eastern Wisconsin provides family-friendly activities and educational experiences designed to showcase Horicon Marsh’s role as an important habitat for birds and wildlife. Festival website
Creston Valley Bird Fest
The festival in British Columbia offers a variety of birdwatching activities guided by experts, as well as photography and art displays and bird-oriented workshops. More than 300 species of birds have been recorded in the Creston Valley. Festival website
Pikes Peak Birding and Nature Festival
The festival offers birders many opportunities to experience spring migration along Colorado’s Front Range. Events include searching for Flammulated Owl with Dr. Brian Linkhart, a world-renowned researcher of the raptor, visits to working cattle ranches, and more. Festival website
Yakima River Canyon Bird Fest
The Yakima River Canyon Bird Fest in central Washington State will offer expert-led field trips, vendors, extended field trips, lectures and keynote speakers, social events and music, and a plethora of birdwatching during early spring. Festival website
American Falls Birding Festival
The festival provides participants the opportunity to view a wide variety of birds in southeastern Idaho. Field trips to Massacre State Park and the American Falls Reservoir provide a great place for birding. The date is timed to overlap wintering birds and the beginning of spring migration. Festival website
Wings Over Muscatatuck Bird Festival
The annual festival celebrating our feathered friends includes a full day of programs and tours featuring live birds of prey, bird-house building, bird calling, and kids’ activities. Festival website
Bluegrass Birding Festival & Craft Fair
The Lexington, Kentucky, area has great opportunities for birding, with over 350 documented species, and this festival looks to provide a fun-filled weekend of birding. Festival website
Prince Edward Point Spring Birding Festival
Visit the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory in Picton, Ontario, to catch spring migration in full flight. Activities and events for all ages are planned, including guided bird walks, talks, and banding demonstrations. Festival website
Festivals and events
We highlight fun birding events in every issue of BirdWatching magazine. The events above appear in our April 2018 issue. Subscribe
Read about these and other events in our online calendar. You can reach the calendar from the black bar at the top of our website. From the pull-down “PHOTOS & CALENDAR” menu, click on “Calendar of events” to view the calendar. Click on “Submit event” to add an event.
Post updated on April 25, to add the Brew City Birding Festival.
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