Birding and Nature Festivals

Every May, the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival takes place, based in Homer, Alaska. Over 100,000 shorebirds migrate through Kachemak Bay each year on their journey to breeding grounds in the Alaska tundra.
Photo: FWS/Karen Laubenstein

We have recently witnessed the rapid spread of birding and nature festivals in this country, from about a dozen events in 1993 to over 250 annually today. These events demonstrate an increasing interest in wildlife and conservation, and they help to create an economic base to conserve and protect wildlife habitat. Festivals raise bird and biodiversity awareness and promote responsible eco-tourism.

You can find a festival near you. They occur throughout the year and across the country. Many have a National Wildlife Refuge component. Some festivals are big; some are small. Some are connected with International Migratory Bird Day (in May) or National Wildlife Refuge Week (in October).

You can inspect a list of these festivals from the Bird Watcher's Digest site.

Here, a volunteer holds a Prothonotary Warbler at a bird-banding demonstration. Banding helps us study and track the migration of many of our species.
Photo: FWS/Ryan Hagerty

These festivals actively promote and clearly demonstrate the economic value of birding and wildlife-watching, signifying to local communities that investing in these habitats and their associated recreation can generate substantial economic return. As awareness of these eco-tourism and avi-tourism impacts spreads, voters and businesses will be more likely to support conservation measures for local habitats and the wildlife they sustain.

If you are interested in organizing a festival in your community or linked to your National Wildlife Refuge, you may want to examine the free festival manual available from our friends at the American Birding Association.


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