May is an especially popular month for birding festivals because it is the height of spring migration, bringing a wider variety of birds to many destinations, and the enjoyable spring weather is an ideal time for getting out into the field to welcome all the new arrivals. The May bird festivals listed below highlight their local spring specialty birds and offer a wide variety of activities, field trips and other features, but festivals can vary from year to year – click on each festival’s name for official schedules, registration details and costs. Note: Only a few of the unique features of each festival are mentioned below; many more are on each festival’s complete schedule! 2013 festival dates will be updated as they become available.
Festivals are listed in chronological order according to the date they begin; scroll down or check additional pages for festivals held later in May. Don’t see your favorite May birding festival listed? Email me to have it added to the directory!
- Dates: May 2-5, 2013
- Location: Cordova, Alaska
Alaska can’t be beat for nesting shorebirds, and the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival provides multiple opportunities to see a wide range of shorebird species in different habitats. In addition to field trips, other festival activities include a quilt show, bird artwork exhibits, youth workshops and a Birder’s Challenge team competition.
- Dates: May 3-5, 2013
- Location: Sherman, Texas
Texas is a haven for birders, and Birdfest Texoma takes advantage of the beauty of spring migration in a fabulous location. In addition to field trips, other festival events include keynote speakers, book signings, raptor shows, lectures, a nature writing workshop, wildflower walks and a honey tasting.
- Dates: May 3-5, 2013
- Location: Wagner, South Dakota
The South Dakota Birding Festival offers a range of field trips including an owl prowl and destinations not open to the general public. Other events include a banquet, bird banding workshop and guest speakers.
- Dates: May 3-20, 2013
- Location: Point Pelee National Park, Ontario
A long, casual festival, the Festival of Birds offers bird hikes and wildflower walks through much of the peak of spring migration at this popular birding hotspot. Other events scheduled during the festival’s duration include bird identification classes and workshops as well as other presentations.
- Dates: May 3-12, 2013
- Location: Oregon, Ohio
Located in “the warbler capital of the world,” the Biggest Week in American Birding is a spring birding paradise. Field trips and presentations are repeated throughout the 10-day event to provide scheduling flexibility, and other festival events include conservation fundraisers, a silent auction, bird identification classes, family bird walks and big day bus trip competitions.
- Dates: May 6-12, 2013
- Location: Invermere, British Columbia
Celebrating the return of migratory birds to British Columbia, the Wings Over the Rockies festival has a variety of field trips of different lengths to see those birds. Other festival events include interpretive walks, both live and silent auctions, an all day birding blitz, kayak birding tours and spotting scope testing.
- Dates: May 8-12, 2013
- Location: Cortez, Colorado
From the welcome reception to the concluding brunch, the Ute Mountain / Mesa Verde Birding Festival combines unique local culture with specialty birds. In addition to multiple field trips, festival events include an art show, silent auction, wine tasting, informational lectures, youth-oriented tours, youth crafts and more.
- Dates: May 9-12, 2013
- Location: Homer, Alaska
The Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival highlights a hotspot for Arctic shorebirds, ducks and other northern species with a wide range of field trips including tours from boats and kayaks for unique and up close views. Other festival events include bird art classes, a writing workshop, bird science presentations, informational lectures and junior birder events.
- Dates: No festival in 2013; will return in 2014
- Location: Presque Isle State Park, Pennsylvania
Presque Isle is a concentration point along the Atlantic Migration Flyway, and the Festival of the Birds is poised to take advantage of the peak of spring migration. In addition to a wide range of field trips through the park’s varied habitats, other festival events include a welcome reception, informational workshops and a buffet dinner.
- Dates: May 10-11, 2013
- Location: Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin
From the evening reception followed by a full day of workshops, field trips and lectures, the Annual Birding Festival at the North Lakeland Discovery Center has something for everyone who loves birds. Additional events include bird banding demonstrations and bird house building.