The states in the southern U.S. are in the Mississippi, Central, or Atlantic flyway of migrating birds, providing great opportunities to view migratory and nonmigratory birds throughout the year. Read through the list below to see what annual festivals are held in your state and maybe you’ll get to see some birds on your life list, meet other birders, or just brush up on your bird identification skills.
SELECT A STATE TO VIEW FESTIVALS
Select from the list of states below to see the birding festivals in that state
Alabama Birding Festivals
Alabama Coastal BirdFest
Held in October each year by the Weeks Bay Foundation, this festival features bird- and nature-watching spots around Baldwin and Mobile Counties. Activities include boat tours and cruises, kayak tours, paddle tours, socials, hikes in local wildlife refuges, photography workshops, workshops, and so much more. Visit the Alabama Coastal BirdFest website for details.
Festival of the Cranes
Held in January at the Wheeler National Refuge in Decatur, Alabama, this festival allows visitors to see sandhill and whooping cranes at the Refuge and hear special speakers, attend photography workshops, hear live music, hike, watch films related to the cranes, see live raptors, and lots of children’s activities. Visit the Wheeler Refuge’s Festival of the Cranes web page.
Purple Martin Jamboree
Held in June in Rainsville, Alabama, hope to the world’s largest purple martin colony, this event features bird banding, gospel singing, Purple Martin products, and more. Visit their Facebook page to find out more details.
Arkansas Birding Festivals
Eagle Awareness Weekends
Specific Arkansas State Parks hold Eagle Awareness Weekends which include field trips, lake and river tours, guided bird walks, guest speakers, live bird demonstrations, and live entertainment. Dates and locations vary, so visit the Arkansas Tourisms’s Events page and search for the word ‘eagle’ to find the dates and locations for the year.
Eagles Et Cetera Festival
Held in late January at DeGray Lake Resort State Park, this celebration includes eagle watching lake tours, owl prowls, birding walks, owl-pellet dissection courses, videos, and live raptor demonstrations. Visit the website’s events page to find the date for this year’s festival, which has been ongoing for 4 decades!
Winter Wings Weekend
Held in early February at the Lake Chicot State Park Visitor Center in Lake Village, AR, this event includes field trips, hikes, interpretive programs, and more. Visit the Park’s website to find more details and a schedule.
Florida Birding Festivals
Birds of a Feather Fest
Held in February by the Palm Coast Parks and Recreation Department in the city of Palm Coast. It includes beginner bird walks, photography, workshops, social events, family activities, and of course, birding. Visit the Birds of a Feather Fest web page.
Burrowing Owl Festival
Nearly two decades of this festival have been held each February at Cape Coral, Florida, home to the largest population of Florida Burrowing Owls. The festival marks the start of nesting season for this species and features wildlife presentations, live animal demonstrations, artists, photographers, craft vendors, Children’s Creative Corner, music, educational exhibits, bus tours, and more. Visit the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife website for more information.
“Ding” Darling Days
Held in October at the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel Island, FL, this 3-day event is filled with lots of family friendly activities including a scavenger hunt bingo, wildlife drive tram tours, animal olympics games, movies, and more. You can also go on a nature cruise, creek paddle, kayak tour, bike tour and more. There is a nature photography contest, live animal demonstrations, face-painting, crafts, music and more. View the schedule at the Ding Darling Days website.
Everglades Birding Festival
Held in January in Fort Lauderdale, this festival features bird walks, field trips, speakers, photography field training, and mini-workshops. Field trips visit Broward, Corkscrew Swamp, Palm Beach Wetlands, South Dade, the Everglades, and Upper Keys. The field workshops cover topics such as birding skills, habitat, bird by ear, behavior, field techniques, field marks, season, and family groups. Visit the Everglades Birding Festival website for this year’s schedule.
Fairchild Bird Festival
Held in October at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, this festival includes off-site tours into bird habitat in south Florida led by the Tropical Audubon Society, presentations by bird experts, guided bird walks, an amateur photography contest, and a plant sale. Visit the Fairchild Botanic Garden’s website for more information.
Festival of the Birds
Held in January in Naples, Florida, this 3-day festival provides dozens of guided field trips to birding spots in Southwest Florida and lectures on the local environment. Attendees can purchase a ticket for admission to the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center to hear lectures and attend the keynote with refreshments. The Learning Center houses interactive exhibits, nature store, and walking trails. More information available at the Festival of the Birds web page on the Paradise Coast website.
Florida Birding & Nature Festival
Held in October in Tampa, FL, this three-day festival offers workshops, speakers, seminars, field trips, boat tours, a nature expo, kids activities, keynotes at a dinner buffet, and more. Students get a discounted ticket. Students and faculty can submit abstracts for a poster session. The expo is held at the Hillsborough Community College’s Brandon Campus. Find out more about the Florida Birding & Nature Festival on their website.
Florida’s Birding & Photo Fest
Held in late April at Ponte Vedra Beach, St. Augustine, this 5-day festival features world-class photographers and instructors that offer workshops and training in-field and indoors. It also offers outdoor tours – kayaking, boating, walking, and a visit to an alligator farm. Visit the Florida’s Birding and Photo Fest website for a detailed schedule and list of all of the available photography workshops/seminars.
Lake Apopka Birding Festival
Held in January, this festival highlights the birds of Lake Apopka through field trips and workshops. Workshops include bird ID, photography, digiscoping, birding by ear, beginning birding, and ebirding. From sparrows and buntings to scrub-jays and raptors, there are all kinds of birds to be seen. Field trips may be walking, boating, driving, or a combination. Visit the Lake Apopka Birding Festival website to learn more.
Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival
Held in late January at Eastern Florida State College in Titusville, FL, this long-running festival features boat trips, dozens of field trips, historic tours, tons of speakers, a Saturday evening celebration party with live music, a series of workshops on birding topics, and a series of workshops on photography and digiscoping. Visit the Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival website for details.
Georgia Birding Festivals
Atlanta Bird Fest
Held on the weekends from mid-April to mid-May, this festival is hosted by the Atlanta Audubon Society and features field trips, workshops, and speakers. The field trips include a paddling trip, hiking, artist-led bird walks, an amphibian stroll, and a photography tour. An art show and native plant sale is also held during this festival as well as workshops focusing on nature sketching, photography, building bird-friendly habitat and more. A Closing Celebration is held on the last day. Visit the Atlanta Bird Fest website for information and a schedule.
Fall Birding Days
Held in late September to early October on Little St. Simons Island in Georgia, visitors can view the fall migration on excursions led by ornithologists and naturalists. Learn more at the Fall Birding Days page.
Spring Birding Days
Held in late April to early May on Little St. Simons Island in Georgia, visitors can view the spring migration on excursions led by ornithologists and naturalists. Learn more at the Spring Birding Days page.
Kentucky Birding Festivals
Bluegrass Birding Festival & Craft Fair
Held in May at McConnell Springs in Lexington, Kentucky, this festival includes arts, crafts, and specialty booths, a live bird demonstration, lots of birding hikes, and a guest speaker. It is free and open to the public with the goal of introducing people to the hobby of bird watching. Visit the Bluegrass Birding Festival & Craft Fair website for more information.
Ohio Valley Birding Festival
Held in April and May, this festival includes hikes and birding activities in western Kentucky and southwestern Indiana. Several of the hikes and events are held at the John James Audubon State Park in Henderson, Kentucky, including a bird banding workshop. This festival has lots of family friendly activities including a junior birders hike, dissection of owl pellets, and some bird related crafts. Visit the Ohio Valley Birding Festival website for a schedule and more information.
Louisiana Birding Festivals
Feliciana Hummingbird Celebration
Held in September at St. Francisville, Louisiana, this celebration offers visitors the opportunity to see hummingbirds up close in the breeding habitat in the St. Francisville area. Biologists will capture and band hummingbirds for visitors to view. This festival includes a hummingbird plant sale and a tour of the gardens at two private homes. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the St. Francisville Festivals website.
Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival
Held in April in the town of Grand Isle, Louisiana, this three-day festival includes guided bird tours on the Grand Isle Birding Trail, Elmer’s Island, and the Grand Isle State Park to see migratory birds. The festival also includes kayak tours through a mangrove swamp, boat tours to a nearby pelican rookery, and a walking tour of historic homes. Other activities include a native plant identification tour, fish lab tour, warbles and wine reception with a silent auction, and a bird banding demonstration. For more information, visit the Town of Grand Isle’s website or the Northlake Nature Center’s page on BirdFest.
Great Louisiana BirdFest
Held in mid-April at the Northlake Nature Center near Mandeville, LA, this festival is in the migratory path for many birds flying from South American and Mexico to places northward. Visitors will be able to take birding trips in many habitats including swamps, wetlands, pine savanna, and hardwoods. The festival also includes several workshops and great Southern food. Visit the Great Louisiana BirdFest web page for more details.
St. Bernard Bird Festival
Held in May, this 2-day festival is held at the Los Islenos Museum Complex in St. Bernard. Visitors will have a chance to see migratory birds through guided tours, see local artists and woodcarvers whose art features birds, and learn about birding, re-forestation, and local fauna through indoor programs. Visit the St. Bernard website for more information.
Yellow Rails and Rice Festival
This unique festival is held in late October and highlights the partnership between farmers and birders to create working wetlands for yellow rails. Visitors will be directed to viewing spots in the rice fields, can explore nearby birding spots, and visit local hotspots. Many information booths will be set up and a banding workshop is planned. This festival is held in Jennings, Louisiana by Snowy Egret Enterprises. Visit the festival website for more information.
Maryland Birding Festivals
Audubon’s Spring Baltimore Birding Weekend
Held in May in Baltimore, this three-day event offers field trips to bird watching spots in Baltimore’s green spaces and along the water. Trips are hiking, driving, boat, and/or paddling. The event is organized by the Patterson Park Audubon Center and Conservation Community Consulting. Visit the Baltimore Birding Weekend website for more information.
Garrett County Birdfest
Held in early May, this three-day event includes guided birding trips to many local hotspots, an opening night social and reception at the Discovery Center in Swanton, Maryland, a live birds of prey event, kids activities, and more. May is the time to view migratory birds in Maryland. For more information, visit the Discovery Center’s page on Birdfest.
Held in November in Easton, Maryland, this three-day festival has activities for all ages that celebrate waterfowl. From the Premiere Night Party, to a decoy auction, programs about wetlands, live music, kids activities, live bird demonstrations, retriever demonstrations, tours of art galleries, waterfowl calling championships contests, kids fishing derby, and so much more. Visit the Waterfowl Festival website for a full schedule of events.
Mississippi Birding Festivals
Hummingbird Migration and Nature Celebration
Held in September at the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs, this celebration attracts thousands of visitors to view and learn more about ruby-throated hummingbirds. The Audubon Center is in the migratory path of these hummingbirds and hundreds can be seen each year feeding in the native plant gardens. The event features hummingbird banding demonstrations; live animal demonstrations featuring birds, bats, and snakes; a native plant sale; arts and crafts sale; guided nature walks; wagon rides; guest speakers; kids activities; and more. Visit the Hummingbird Migration and Nature Celebration web page for more information.
Tara Wildlife’s Spring Outdoor and Birding Weekend
Held in late April to early May, this weekend event holds opportunities to view the migration of song birds along the Mississippi Flyway. Weekend activities include birding tours in an open-air bus, walking tours through habitat, evening social activities with food and live music, nature trails, canoeing, biking, and more. Visit the Spring Outdoor & Birding Weekend website for more information.
Tara Wildlife’s Mississippi River Nature Weekend
Held in late August at Tara Wildlife in Vicksburg, MS, this weekend event includes kayak demonstrations and paddles, group bike rides, nature walks, live bird demonstrations, birding tours on the open-air bus, educational presentations, live music, a hog roast, and more. Visit the Mississippi River Nature Weekend website for a schedule of activities.
North Carolina Birding Festivals
Boone Birding Festival
Held in April at the Valle Crucis Park in Valle Crucis, NC, this free festival features live bird demonstration, birdwalks in the park, talks from birding experts, and displays about local flora and fauna. Visit the Boone Birding Festival facebook page for more information.
Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival
Held in October and December, this festival includes more than 90 trips and programs that take place in six northeastern counties and six national wildlife refuges. Activities include birding, kayak tours, video and photography classes, reptile and amphibian hikes, photography tours, paddleboard tours, birding classes, stargazing, sea turtle tours, and so much more. Visit the Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival website for a schedule, directions, lodging info and more.
Oklahoma Birding Festivals
Lesser Prairie Chicken Festival
Held in April in Osage County, Oklahoma, this festival features the lesser and greater prairie chickens and other birds around northwest Oklahoma. Hosted by the Oklahoma Audubon Council, this festival features viewings from blinds and vans, field trips led by local experts, a photographer package, workshops, speakers, and two field trips after the festival to nearby birding spots. Visit the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Festival website for more information.
Red Slough Birding Convention
Held in early May at the Red Slough WMA, Little River National Wildlife Refuge, and McCurtain County Wilderness Area, this convention is limited to 60 participants. In addition to the birding tours, there is a wildflower walk, a champion tree tour, and at least two speakers. Visit the Red Slough Birding Convention website for more information.
South Carolina Birding Festivals
Blue Wall Birding Festival
Held in May in upstate South Carolina, this four-day event includes a welcome social, nocturnal birding, and half-day to full-day field trips to multiple places and parks in the area. Visit the Blue Wall Birding Festival website for details on the field trips. Participants are limited to 50 to keep field trip group sizes small.
Santee Birding & Nature Festival
Held in late April, this three-day festival is hosted by Audubon South Carolina in Santee, SC. Festival activities include birding, paddling, and natural history trips. The festival is located at the Santee Cultural Arts Center in the Town Hall Complex. Visit the Santee FWS web page for more information.
Tennessee Birding Festivals
Held in June in Brownsville, TN, this festival features birding at the Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge. The schedule includes speakers, canoe trips, live music, live bird demonstrations, a butterfly and wildflower hike, hayride, float trip, demonstrations, guided tours, and exhibitions. Visit the Hatchie BirdFest website for more details.
Sandhill Crane Festival
Held in January in Birchwood, TN, the Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival features guided crane and eagle boat tours on the Hiwassee River. Festival goers can also experience Native American folklorists and crafts at the Cherokee Memorial, live music, a live raptor show, a main speaker, and more.
Wings of Winter Birding Festival
Held in Paris, TN, in January, this festival includes guided trips, featured speakers, and good food. Birding trips to several national wildlife refuges and WMA’s, a battlefield, and a park are included in the schedule. You can also attend a photography or beginning birding workshop. Visit the Paris, Tennessee Chamber’s website for specific details.
Texas Birding Festivals
Birdiest Festival in America
Held in late April in Corpus Christi, Texas, this festival offers guided field trips, photography workshops, raptor presentations, bird banding, bird walks, and a vendor trade show. Their website boasts that Corpus Christi is the “Birdiest City in America” with over 300 species of birds spotted each year. Visit the Birdiest Festival website to see bird lists from previous years and the upcoming schedule for this year.
Held in January in Rains County, Texas, for over two decades, this festival highlights eagles, providing spotting tours and other bird tours as well as educational seminars, displays, exhibits, and a photography contest. Visit the Eagle Fest website for more information.
Held in April in Galveston, TX, this festival is for birders and photographers alike with birding and photography tours and workshops. In addition to viewing birds, visitors can take a turtle tour to view sea turtles at the nearby NOAA sea turtle facility. One component of the festival, called FledglingFest, is targeted specifically to kids. It includes a bird survey, bird identification workshop, a raptor show, a nature walk, a tour of the Moody Gardens Rainforest, and a dolphin and bird seeking boat trip. Kids in grades 1 through 8 can enter an art contest to win free admission to FledglingFest activities. Visit the Galveston FeatherFest website for more information.
Laredo Birding Festival
Held in early February by the Monte Mucho Audubon Society, this four-day festival has it all — from an art exhibit to social events, to speakers, kayak tours, a visit to a few ranches, and full-day birding trips, the all-inclusive packages cover everything a birder will want. Visit the Laredo Birding Festival website for the itinerary and details.
Matagorda Bay BirdFest
Held in February in Palacios, Texas, where over 250 bird species have been counted in the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, this festival includes field birding tours, kayak tours, a parade of giant bird puppets and bird silhouette banners, educational speakers, a youth art program, and more. For more information, visit the Matagorda Bay Birdfest website.
Migratory Bird Fest
Held in May to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day, this event is held at the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center in San Antonia, Texas. This festival has a bit of something for everyone including bird-themed games and crafts, nature-based vendors, a native plant sale, food trucks, live birds of prey show, nature walks, and bird tours. Visit the Migratory Bird Fest web page for more information.
Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival
Held in November in Harlingen, TX, this festival includes tours guided by professional guides with a low participant-to-guide ratio, a Birders Bazaar where you’ll find bird and birding related products, educational seminars, socials, and more. Bird tours go through a wide range of habitats – from dry desert to coastal habitats. The festival includes an art and writing contest open to grades 5 to 12. Visit the RGVBF website for more information.
South Llano River State Park Birding Festival
This is a new festival, held in late April at the South Llano River State Park in Junction, TX. Highlights of the festival include guided walks to view the golden-cheeked warbler, photograph workshops, viewing from blinds, family activities, bird tours and more. For up-to-date information on this festival visit their Facebook page.
Whooping Crane Festival
Held in February in Port Aransas, this festival gives visitors a chance to see whooping cranes in their winter habitat. Activities include speakers, field trips, workshops, nature-related trade shows, painting and wine tasting class, bus and boat tours.For a schedule and festival information, visit the Whooping Crane Festival Facebook page or their website.
Virginia Birding Festivals
Chincoteague Waterfowl Weekend
Held on Thanksgiving weekend in November, this weekend allows visitors the opportunity to view thousands of snow geese and drive the Special Drive along the 7 mile Service Road for best viewing. Visit the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge website for information.
Great Dismal Swamp Migration Celebration
Held in late April, this 3-day event offers guided nature and bird walks and is free and open to the public. It is held at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Suffolk, Virginia. For current information, visit the Facebook Page for information
Winter Wildlife Festival
Held in late January at the Princess Anne Recreation Center in Virginia Beach, VA, visitors to this festival can bird watch, explore habitats, watch harbor seals, and learn about native wildlife. This festival includes a photo contest. Visit the Virginia Beach Parks & Rec web page for festival information and dates.
West Virginia Birding Festivals
Canaan Valley Birding Festival
Held in June in Canaan Valley, West Virginia, this festival features birding in high-elevation boreal habitat – the breeding spot for many Neotropical birds. Each day there are full-day or half-day walking tours guided by leaders who can help with bird identification, particularly by bird song. In the evenings, visitors will enjoy speakers. Visit the page for the Canaan Valley Birding Festival for more information.
Berkeley Springs Birding Festival
Held in the third week of September in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, visitors can attend expert lectures, bird walks, and workshops all during the fall migration of birds. Visit the Berkeley Springs Website for more information.
New River Birding & Nature Festival
Held in late April/early May around the New River Gorge National River, this festival features guided bird/nature tours, speakers, food, and more. The Gorge area is designated as crucial habitat for the Golden-winged, Blue-winged, and Swainson’s Warblers and the Scarlet Tanager. For more information, visit the New River Birding and Nature Festival website.