March marks the beginning of spring, and the beginning of some of the year’s best birding with a wide range of birding festivals in March planned to take advantage of mild temperatures and returning migrants in their beautiful breeding plumage. Yet in the same month, northern festivals are highlighting their specialty birds, so birders who travel to different festivals can go from chilly winter birding to sumptuous spring birding in just 31 days.
The March bird festivals listed below offer hikes, lectures, workshops, speakers and other activities, but individual events vary each year – check each festival’s updated website for specific information, registration details and fees. Note: Only a few 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 for festivals later in March, and don't forget to check birding festivals in February for events that start late in the month and may extend into March as well.
Is your favorite March bird festival not listed? Email me to have it added to the directory!
- Dates: March 1-3, 2013
- Location: Villarreal De San Carlos, Spain
While part of the Extremadura Birdwatching Fair is geared toward tourism professionals, there is a large public component with field trips, lectures, optics testing, photo contests and family friendly trips, making it a great way to enjoy outstanding Spanish birding.
- Dates: March 1-3, 2013
- Location: Houston, Minnesota
Celebrate owls at the International Festival of Owls and enjoy not only great owling opportunities, but also photography sessions, guest speakers, live owls, an owl pellet dissection, and the World Owl Hall of Fame Awards. A pancake breakfast and other themed meals are also part of the festivities.
- Dates: March 2-3, 2013
- Location: Santa Cruz, California
Learn all about hummingbirds at the UCSC Arboretum during Hummingbird Days. The event includes hourly tours of hummingbird-friendly gardens, crafts, plant sales and a watercolor show. Special early tours also offer additional opportunities to see the resident hummingbirds.
- Dates: March 7-10, 2013
- Location: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
More than 300 bird species call the area around Puerto Vallarta home, and the Vallarta Bird Festival is the ideal time to see them in all their spring glory. In addition to field trips, photography exhibits, garden tours, lectures and children's activities are part of this spring event.
- Dates: March 8-10, 2013
- Location: Monte Vista, Colorado
As 20,000 or more sandhill cranes return to the area, the Monte Vista Crane Festival celebrates their arrival with bus tours and viewings, workshops, speakers, a pancake breakfast and more. Also part of the event are raptor-themed field trips and a craft fair.
- Date: March 9, 2013
- Location: Cambridge, Maryland
The Eagle Festival celebrates bald eagles with live raptor presentations, puppet shows, hikes to see the eagles and various children's activities. Bluebird box building and other events are also part of this one-day festival.
- Date: No festival in 2013
- Location: Brigham City, Utah
A one day event at the James V. Hansen Wildlife Education Center at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, the Swan Day Festival celebrates tundra swans with crafts, games, movies and other activities, as well as the opportunity to drive the auto tour loop to see these wonderful waterfowl.
- Dates: March 9-10, 2013
- Location: Goodyear, Arizona
The Tres Rios Nature & Earth Festival focuses on all of Arizona's wildlife, and birders will especially enjoy the sparrow workshops, field trips and canoe trips. Other events include fishing clinics, live animal presentations, photography workshops and storytelling.