I can’t decide what I like best: Spring migration or Fall migration. Living on the Gulf Coast, it sort of doesn’t matter because we’re never without birds. When the Robins leave the far north of America and Canada, they winter here. We know it’s spring when they leave. Warblers fly in on stormy Fall weather for a brief stay before heading south across the Gulf of Mexico. But they pass through again in the Spring. Hummingbirds cross our area north and south and also west and east. Shorebirds are bountiful in the winter along the Southern coast. That’s probably my favorite time for bird watching.
Birding Festivals bring in a lot of economic power to communities that hold them. Birding Tourism is counted on in many areas of our country and not just along the Gulf Coast, but I’m partial to the Gulf Coast so want to spread the news about upcoming bird festivals from Texas to the Florida Keys.
The week of April 17-22 brings The Galveston Featherfest to Coastal Texas. They’re hosting a family festival, field trips, seminars and there are workshops for photographers.
April 13-15th you can join in the events at the Great Louisiana Birdfest. It features tours, night birding, a photo workshop, socials and other field trips. Seems to me it’s a premier festival; you might see me there.
The Grand Isle Migratory Bird Fest is scheduled for the weekend of April 20. There are plenty of family activities, workshops, and field trips. They’ll have bird banding, a class on binoculars and spotting scopes, a trip to the butterfly dome and an art exhibit. And in the Fall in Louisiana, you’ll find Hummingbird and Butterfly Festivals in Folsom and Lafayette.
Alabama has it’s Coastal Bird Fest in October (Oct 3-6, 2018), however, the state is host to other events in the Spring. Among these are the bird banding at Ft. Morgan. This year it is scheduled from April 17-21. There are usually two locations for banding at this site. It’s lots of fun. A few years ago I was able to hold a bird and release it after it was banded; so sweet. If you get the opportunity to go, please do so.
Dauphin Island, Alabama is an amazing place to visit during migration. I highly recommend it. The best time to visit the Bird Sanctuary is from March 1 to April 30.
Now, for Florida. This state is so large and lined in miles and miles of coast that it’s going to be hard to list all the festivals that take place there in my little blog. So, I’m going to point you to The Annual Florida Bird Events for more information.
Don’t forget your birding trail maps and guides in each state. If you’re driving, you can usually get a copy at each state’s Welcome Centers along the interstate. Texas has amazing interactive online birding maps for the Upper Texas Coast , Central Texas Coast, and Lower Texas Coast. Louisiana has the America’s Wetland Birding Trail along the Great Gulf Coast. You’ll also find the Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail, the Alabama Gulf Coast Birding Trail, and the Great Florida Birding Trail which is so extensive it’s available in regional maps. You can find information about them all online or stop at a Visitor’s Center to pick up a copy of the maps.
International Migratory Bird Day is always the second weekend in May. This is a day to celebrate, well, bird migration! Bird Day is celebrated in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central and South American and the Caribbean. There is so much information about it you should just go to the website: www.birdday.org.