Gulf Coast Birding Festivals 2018

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:

Happy Birding!

This is a repost with current event dates of an article from 2015. The information is subject to change and therefore not guaranteed to be accurate. Check the event websites before making your plans to attend anything listed in this article.

S is for Shorebirds

Shorebirds are celebrated all over the world each year in September. World Shorebird Day was actually September 6th this year (2016) but we will celebrate today, too.

Have you ever taken the time to just sit on the shore and watch the birds?  Put the phone away, stop talking to the person you’re with, put down that book…just watch the birds.  They are amazing. The run so fast, they peck at the micro organisms on the sand that they eat, they fly and dive after fish. And the gulls…they’ll pester you to death, nagging you for a piece of your popcorn, chips, sandwich, candy, anything… I once pretended to eat something. I held out my left hand and used my right to pretend to take something and put it to my mouth. I did this a few times and had a flock of seagulls suddenly standing at my feet.

Shorebirds are really essential to our ecosystem. When birds start falling from the sky, something is wrong for all of us. When shorebirds die from something in the water, we need to be attentive.  If these birds cannot nest and bring forth young ones to carry on, our ecosystem can get out of balance.  What shorebirds eat keeps the balance of organisms in the water and in the sand.  For example, if there are no Red knots to feed on horseshoe crab eggs, there will be too many horseshoe crabs. Shorebirds dine on fish, crabs, sea worms, plankton, shell fish and more. This food chain keeps the balance.

Check out a map of the migratory flyways and pay attention to the months the birds are migrating. The Gulf Coast gets a great variety of birds coming and going. For some shorebirds the Gulf Coast is the southern end of their migration; for others it’s the northern end.  Try to get involved in a local volunteer activity relating to shorebirds when  you visit the beaches or if you live there year-round. Audubon has a presence in most coastal areas or contact the local Extension office.101_1414_00

Visit my webpage,, for information about shorebird nesting and make a pledge to Save the Chicks.

Another great site: Migratory Shorebird Project

S is for Shorebird.



Shorebird Nesting Awareness and Greeting Cards

The Caspian Tern is one of my favorite shorebirds.  It is the largest tern out there, the size of a gull, and frequently nests near gull colonies.

These photos are a set that I am selling on blank greeting cards through my Etsy store, Crafty Beachcomber.  They are fixed to ivory cards measuring 5×6.5; the photos are 4×6 and are suitable for framing.

I always loved when the Caspian Tern came in flocks to the Siesta Key beach.  On a windy day, their black tuft would raise with the breeze like a spiked hair on an 80’s punk rocker.  I got so used to referring to them as the punk rock bird, I had to look up their actual name. Shame on me!

The cards are a limited edition of 100 and the proceeds will benefit Save the Chicks, a shorebird nesting awareness organization.  Money will be given to an organization that helps educate the public while protecting the nesting habitats of shorebirds.  Most of these birds nest in a scrape on the beach.  They, the nest and the eggs are mostly camouflaged and susceptible to destruction from beach goers, pets and, prey.  Beach towns usually rope off areas of the beach for these federally protected birds, when nests are found, but many people don’t respect this.  When you are at the beach this summer, please stay out of and away from roped areas  Protect our birds.

Visit Save The Chicks for more information about the Caspian Tern and why protecting birds is important.

Meanwhile, if you would like to order a set of 4 cards, please visit my Etsy store: Crafty Beachcomber.  Thanks.