Winter may seem to be a slow birding time, but there are many birding festivals in January that take advantage of fine birds in both warm and cold destinations. In warm, southern festivals, birders can get a taste of summer temperatures and tropical species, while in colder, northern festivals, January birds often include winter finches, owls and birds prone to irruptions. No matter what the destination, however, these January bird festivals are planned to take advantage of great birding in great locations.
Note: Only a few of each festival's unique features are mentioned below; many more are on each festival’s complete schedule! Festivals are listed in chronological order according to the date they begin; scroll down or check additional pages for festivals later in January, or check birding festivals in December for events that begin late and stretch into January, or check early birding festivals in February as well.
Don’t see your favorite January birding festival in this directory? Email me to have it added to the list!
- Dates: January 10-11, 2014
- Location: Bull Shoals, Arkansas
Winter is the ideal time to see bald eagles in Arkansas, and Eagle Awareness Weekend focuses on these powerful raptors in areas where more than 100 of the birds can be seen together. Lake and river cruises, guided walks, live bird demonstrations and speakers are all part of the festivities. All events are free except the different cruises.
- Date: January 11, 2014
- Location: Decatur, Alabama
Two types of cranes are the stars of the Festival of Cranes - whooping cranes and sandhill cranes. Visitors will have the chance to view both, and other activities for this one-day festival include live raptor presentations, workshops, a Sunrise Breakfast and multiple children's activities.
- Dates: January 15-19, 2014
- Location: Willcox, Arizona
An entertaining festival that covers many different topics, the Wings Over Willcox Birding & Nature Festival includes not only birding field trips, but also excursions to ghost towns and vineyards along with a keynote speaker, featured artist, poetry contest and workshops on topics such as local archeology and astronomy. Also included is a Nature Expo and live raptor demonstrations.
- Dates: January 16-20, 2014
- Location: Plantation, Florida
Florida is a top birding destination in the winter, and the Everglades Birding Festival features both full day and shorter field trips and field workshops to highlight the state's unique avifauna. Other festival events include a keynote speaker and happy hour socials.
- Dates: January 17-19, 2014
- Location: Hot Springs, Arkansas
Bald eagles are bountiful at the Bald Eagle Bonanza, and so are guided walks and lake tours to see these majestic raptors. Other festival events include guest speakers and live bird demonstrations. Admission is free to the festival but certain activities may have modest fees.
- Dates: January 17-18, 2014
- Location: Sauk City and Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin
Free bus tours help visitors get great looks at eagles during Bald Eagle Watching Days, but they aren't the only highlight of the festival. Also on the schedule are live raptor presentations, wine tasting, digiscoping workshops, numerous lectures and a rehabilitated bald eagle release.
- Dates: January 17-20, 2014
- Location: Morro Bay, California
More than 200 bird species have been recorded at the Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival, and this event features big day birding excursions and a variety of other field trips to see them. Other festival highlights include owling, bay birding cruises, bird banding, the Bird Festival Bazaar, live raptor presentations and a puppet show. Other topics covered include mushrooms and butterflies.
- Dates: January 17-19, 2014
- Location: Naples, Florida
Nearly 40 field trips are part of the Southwest Florida Nature Festival, including buggy rides, pontoon boat tours and canoeing, though not all of them focus exclusively on birding. A keynote reception is also included, as are lectures on birds and other types of Florida wildlife, such as butterflies, panthers, gopher tortoises and invasive pythons.
- Dates: January 18-19, 2014
- Location: Birchwood, Tennessee
This free festival celebrates the wintering sandhill cranes in Tennessee. In addition to opportunities to view the huge flocks, other festival activities include a storytelling dinner, guest speakers, informational workshops, children's activities and events to highlight Native American culture.