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AARP en Nuevo México, December 4, 2008
Over the past 15 years, there's been a huge increase in the number of festivals, eco-lodges, and tour companies that cater to traveling birders. Those of you who prefer to flock together rather than fly solo, check out this list of professionally guided tours in North America and worldwide that are endorsed by the American Birding Association (ABA).
Here are some resources to help get you on your way:
Birding festivals are typically multi-day events that celebrate a particular species or the wildlife of a region. They offer seminars on topics like hummingbird identification and birding by ear, speakers that are renowned naturalists, photography workshops, displays from vendors of products such as optics and bird feeders, and field trips to see notable local species. Dozens of festivals take place throughout the year.
The ABA and Audubon websites both list birding festivals and events nationwide.
Ted Floyd, the editor of Birding magazine, especially recommends the following festivals:
Monte Vista Crane Festival, Monte Vista, Colorado (March); 719-852-3552
Rivers and Wildlife Celebration, Kearney, Nebraska (March); 402-797-2301
Brownsville International Birding Festival, Brownsville, Texas (February); 800-626-2639
Festival of the Cranes, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, near Socorro, New Mexico (November); 505-838-2120
Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival, Titusville, Florida (January); 800-460-2646
Cape May Autumn Weekend, Cape May, New Jersey (October); 609-884-2736
Spring Wings Festival, Fallon, Nevada (May); 775-428-6452
Birding trails are driving routes that link excellent wildlife viewing locations such as national wildlife refuges and state parks within a particular region, for example, South Florida or the Minnesota River Valley.
The Audubon, ABA, and Bird Watcher's Digest websites link to birding trails around the country. You can order (or in some cases download) a map with directions and details on the species and habitat that can be found at each stop.
Classic U.S. Birding Destinations
These avian hotspots have been popular for decades because they not only feature habitat that attracts great numbers of birds, but also offer nature centers, trails, guided tours, lodging, and more. For information, check the websites listed.
Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory
Central Park, New York City (especially during spring migration)
New York City Audubon
Central Park Conservancy
Cape May, New Jersey
Cape May Bird Observatory
San Francisco Bay-Delta Area
PRBO Conservation Science, Bolinas, California
Everglades National Park, Florida
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton, Pennsylvania
Rio Grande Valley in Texas
Big Bend National Park
World Birding Center
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