Virtual Birding Festivals: The Show Will Go On!

New River and Nature Birding Festival. Photo by J. Melfi.

One of the many awesome things to witness in the birding world during our current isolated situation is the creativity various festivals and organizations are exhibiting as they find ways to carry on their important work. This upcoming weekend, birders can armchair travel to a number of events around the country and virtually commune with fellow birders.

This weekend, the Bird Watcher’s Digest staff would have been packing up and heading down to Fayetteville, West Virginia, for a week of fun with our friends at the New River Birding and Nature Festival. The festival is a highlight of our year, and features incredible birding by day and entertaining speakers by night, with loads of antics and adventures along the way. But since we can’t come to them this year, the festival coordinators are bringing the festival to all of us! Every morning at 8 a.m. from April 27–May 1, they will take us birding with them on Facebook Live, kicking things off with the annual “Birding by Butt” on the birdy grounds of the Opossum Creek Retreat on Monday, and then to different locations around the area where we normally would be taking guided walks. The evening entertainment will include various speakers, including a “Words with Bird Nerds” panel hosted by American Birding Association president Jeff Gordon. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for more information on the daily happenings!

BWD Editor Dawn Hewitt

On Friday night, our very own editor extraordinaire, Dawn Hewitt, is the virtual keynote speaker at the Hatchie Bird Festival, which would have been held this weekend in Brownsville, Tennessee. They have planned live hikes and activities and even music that will air on their Facebook page, among numerous other events for birders of all ages and expertise. You have to register to listen to Dawn’s talk, but the event is free. Check out Hatchie’s very full schedule of events and join in the fun!

Another event that would have occurred this weekend is the Point Reyes Birding & Nature Festival, on the California coast in Marin County. Instead, the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin is sponsoring a series of free webinars from April 24–May 1, featuring some of the scheduled speakers—including BWD contributor Katie Fallon, who will be delivering a talk titled “Shade-Grown Coffee: Conservation in Your Cup” on Saturday, and she will also be reading her children’s book, Look, See the Farm! with the help of “HD,” a rescued screech-owl ambassador. Other webinars cover a range of topics: spotted owls, Cooper’s hawks, bobcats, wildflowers, and more.

If we can’t physically be there, these online events are the next best thing, and we hope you’ll support them. And there are certainly more virtual events coming up in the days ahead – let us know which ones you plan to attend!


Learn more about each virtual festival by clicking the logos below!

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