Put the dates of November 10-14 on your calendar for the upcoming Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival. And you might want some extra days before or after to continue adding birds to your list, your memory card, or just your memory. The Valley is always full of colorful birds, friendly people, and plenty of birders. Throw in a few tacos here and there, and you have a Fiesta.
The festival will offer over 120 field trips for the five days, keynote speakers, afternoon presentations, a rousing trade show (called Birders Bazaar), a whopping silent auction, a souvenir booth, and the fabulous art and photographs from local students. Some reunite with birders from across the country – seeing old friends and making new ones. Be sure to plan your trip to arrive on Tuesday to attend the Welcome Reception Tuesday evening. There will be music, noshes, and sips.
Watch the website for more information about the event. Online registration is currently open, but closes at the end of the day today, and events are filling up fast. While everyone who participates pays a registration fee, visitors/participants have the option of purchasing a Kiskadee Pass – an all-event pass that gets you into the talks – during online registration for a savings or buying tickets separately at the door. All field trips are priced according to entry fees/vehicles used/number of guides allotted.
Field trips include Alligators and Sea Turtles, Arroyo Colorado Unit, Audubon Islands of Laguna Madre, Bahia Grande Unit, Battlefields of Brownsville, Bentsen-RGV State Park, Big Day Vans, Bio-Blitz using iNaturalist at West Wildlife Preserve, Bird Banding, Birding for New Birders, Breakfast with the Birds at Sabal Palm Sanctuary, Butterflies, and so many more.
Speakers for this year’s event include Christian Hagenlocher, Kristi Dranginis, Nathan Pieplow, Bill Cark, Mike Stewart, Christine Gurley, and Tim Brush. Topics of talks include A Big Year of Birding on a Budget, Unusual Raptor Plumages, Changing Birdlife of a Tropical Frontier, Birding the World, Instinctive Birding, Identify any Bird Anywhere, and several more.
If you have questions, feel free to call the registration office at (209) 227-4823 or visit the website at rgvbf.org. COVID regulations will be in place including temperature checks, encouragement of face masks during the festival – required when on vans and buses and other areas where social distancing cannot be maintained, and hand sanitizer will be available.