This summer season is teeming with bird-friendly events from coast to coast. Feeling social? Get to know your fellow birders at a festival, where you can embark on field trips, hear from experts, take classes and workshops, and more. If you prefer a solo experience, art exhibitions and community conservation events abound as well. Or better yet, try both: Mark your calendars from our sampling of summertime bird events happening.
“John James Audubon: Obsession Untamed” exhibition
Rosecliff, Newport, RI; March 30–Nov. 3
Inside one of the most luxurious Gilded Age mansions on the East Coast, relics of John James Audubon’s life’s work will deck the halls. His world-famous watercolors documenting North America’s bird species are only part of the exhibit: Accessories showing the devastation of the early 20th century feather craze strike a stark contrast with the abundant wilderness Audubon captured in his enchanting avian portraits. More info here.
Audubon Nature Festival
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Topsfield, MA; June 2
Mass Audubon brings husband-wife duo Mark and Marcia Wilson and their owls to the Ipswich River for educational presentations about your wild avian neighbors. The family-friendly event encourages outdoor exploration and engagement through guided nature tours, children’s games and activities, and exhibits featuring reptiles, amphibians, and insects. More info here.
Pelham Bay Park Bird Walk Series
Bronx, NY; June 2, 9, 23, 30
Every Sunday in June, discover the birding habitat you never knew existed in the Bronx. Stroll along the trails of Pelham Bay Park, the largest park in New York City. With 13 miles of Long Island Sound shoreline and a hiking loop around Hunter Island’s wetlands and forest, you’re in a prime location to spot breeding Orchard Orioles, Ospreys, and Eastern Towhees. More info here.
20th Annual Wings Across the Big Sky Bird Festival
Glasgow, MT; June 7–9
Celebrate Montana’s native bird species such as the Upland Sandpiper, Ferruginous Hawk, and Prairie Falcon in the state’s northeastern glaciated plains. Set against a backdrop of stratified mountains and vast prairies, field excursions include a canoe trip down the Missouri River and a visit to Nelson Reservoir to watch wetland and grassland birds. A keynote presentation by Sean Gerrity, founder of the American Prairie Reserve, kicks off the festival. More info here.
Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua
Lee Vining, CA; June 14–16 (top photo)
Just east of Yosemite National Park, join fellow birders in discovering the Mono Basin’s abundant and diverse bird population, from Green-tailed Towhees to California Gulls. More than 90 field trips, workshops, and presentations—such as birding while brewery hopping, hiking Clark Canyon in the shadow of Bald Mountain, and a panel presentation by the Mono Basin’s climate action group—spinkle the weekend, which is also accompanied by food and live music. More info here.
Caramoor Takes Wing! Celebrating Birdsong
Katonah, NY; July 13–14
Bedford Audubon and the Stamford Museum and Nature Center collaborate for a weekend in nature celebrating birdsong through music, bird walks, a panel discussion, and other activities. Notably, pianist Pierre Laurent-Aimard will perform Messiaen’s Catalogue d’Oiseaux, a 20th century piano solo devoted to birds, over the course of three concerts. Other musicians, including clarinetist David Rothenberg, will play music meditating on the birds' beauty throughout the weekend. More info here.
42nd Annual Loon Fest
Moultonborough, NH; July 20
The haunting call of the loon is captured in the lines of many a transcendentalist poem, but there’s more to these crooners than their song. The Loon Fest, put on by the Loon Preservation Committee, offers interactive wildlife exhibits for kids and adults alike, and presentations by loon biologists on how to protect the birds from lead poisoning and other threats. Don’t forget to take the Loon Facts quiz to win three throws at the dunk tank! More info here.
The 2019 Audubon Convention
Milwaukee, WI; July 26–28
Audubon chapters and leaders from around the world come together under one roof every two years for a weekend of speakers, education, and adventures. Experience the camaraderie of the birding community on the shores of Lake Michigan, explore the largest cattail marsh in the United States, and hear from Audubon experts like John Rowden, director of community conservation, and Claire Douglass, national campaigns manager. More info here.
Southeast Arizona Birding Festival
Tucson, AZ; Aug. 7–11
Check Sonoran Desert birds such as the Elegant Trogon and Montezuma Quail off your birding list with a trip to Tucson Audubon’s birding festival. Besides workshops ranging from photo editing to creating a wildlife-friendly yard, Audubon Arizona’s director of bird conservation Tice Supplee will lead a virtual tour of Arizona’s 48 Important Bird Areas, including insider tips on the best time of year to visit to see certain birds. If you opt for a more outdoorsy adventure, field trips abound including an excursion to Ramsey Canyon where you might glimpse a Whiskered Screech-owl. More info here.
Yampa Valley Crane Festival
Steamboat Springs and Hayden, CO; Aug. 29–Sept. 1
As summer’s last hurrah rolls around, spend Labor Day weekend watching the culmination of the Greater Sandhill Cranes’ stopover in Yampa Valley. The tall, spindly-legged birds migrate to the valley to nest. Features of the festival include a keynote presentation by Kerryn Morrison, manager of the African Crane Conservation Program for the International Crane Foundation, a crane-inspired aerial dance performance, and crane-centric art exhibitions in galleries throughout Steamboat Springs. More info here.
20th Annual Hummingbird Migration and Nature Celebration
Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, Holly Springs, MS; Sept. 6–8
Closely observe the iconic Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Mississippi as the birds prepare to migrate over the Gulf of Mexico to their wintering grounds in Florida, Mexico, and Central America. Watch the banding and release of the birds, participate in photography bird walks coached by Canon experts, and listen to entomology and wildlife ecology professor Doug Tallamy’s presentation on how you can cultivate native plants for birds among other fun events at one of the southeast’s largest nature festivals.
“Birds in Art” Exhibition
Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, WI; Sept. 7–Dec. 1
As autumn descends upon northern Wisconsin and leaves burst into shades of red and yellow, the 44th annual “Birds in Art” exhibit will open at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. The exhibit features 100 works of contemporary artistic representations of birds and related content reviewed by a jury, including work by Alan Woollett who draws lifelike birds in graphite and colored pencil. More info here.
Puget Sound Bird Fest
Edmonds, WA; Sept. 13–15
A variety of habitats constitute the Pacific Northwest and none are lacking in Edmonds. Catch sight of birds such as Bald Eagle and Horned Grebe in salt water, fresh water, wetlands, fields, ravines, and woods as leaves turn from green to red. Nature photographer Tim Boyer kicks off the festival with a presentation on the epic migrations of shorebirds. If you’re a Puget Sound area artist, consider entering into the poster art contest to promote the bird fest. More info here.