2009 Spring/Summer Birding Calendar
Family-friendly birding events happening all over the state.
By Shelly Plante
In addition to the events listed on the following pages, a regularly updated calendar of all events at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department facilities can be found online at www.tpwd.state.tx.us/calendar. Search this calendar by "Events and Activities" or by "Regions" of the state to find more outdoor adventures for you and your family year-round! Bird walks, butterfly hikes, hawk watches, breakfast with the birds and owl prowls are only a few of the many activities available at parks and other places throughout the state.
Year-Round Events Second Saturday of Each Month
Beginner’s Bird Walk — Judson Nature Trails, Alamo Heights. Binoculars are provided. All are welcome. Helps newcomers and beginners learn the birds of the area. 8 a.m. each month except June, July and August, when groups meet at 7:30 a.m. Free. (210) 342-2073; www.saaudubon.org.APRIL
Houston Audubon’s Birdathon 2009 — Houston and surrounding areas. Teams gather pledges for the number of different bird species they see within a 24-hour period, competing for prizes such as gift certificates, outdoor equipment and birding tour packages. This is a pledge drive; call for details. (713) 932-1639; www.houstonaudubon.org.
Every Weekend (except Easter Sunday)
Birdwalks — Blucher Park, Corpus Christi. Birder-led walks through Blucher Park and the expansive lawns of the homes across the street from the park. Blucher Park is the site of large spring migrant fallouts. Free. (361) 443-0744; www.ccbirding.com.
Every Wednesday – Saturday
Guided Bird Walks — Goose Island State Park. Spend the morning with birding experts as they lead a walk through the park identifying the birds of the Gulf Coastal Bend. 8 a.m. Free with park entrance. (361) 729-2858; www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park.
Vida Verde Family Festival — Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center, McAllen. Celebrates Earth Day with activities including live birds of prey shows, live reptile shows, music, food, art shows, speaker series, green expo and more! 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Free. (956) 681-3370; www.quintamazatlan.com.
April 17 – 19
15th Annual Migration Celebration — Lake Jackson. This event includes informational booths, exciting speakers and birding field trips of the area’s diverse habitats including coastal prairie, hardwood forests and southern bayous along the Central Flyway. Cost varies. (866) 403-5829; migrationcelebration.org.
April 21 – 26
Nature Quest — Texas Hill Country River Region, Uvalde County. Learn from world-class experts about native plants, wildflowers, butterflies, insects, birds and mammals through field trips, workshops, seminars and evening programs. Cost varies. (800) 210-0380; www.thcrr.com.
April 24 – 27
Balcones Songbird Festival — Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, Lago Vista. A celebration of nature to experience birds, butterflies and wildflowers. Join birding nature walks and enjoy family events, including searches for the endangered golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo. Cost varies. (512) 965-2473; www.balconessongbirdfestival.org.
16th Annual Bluebird Festival — Wills Point. Includes educational and entertaining programs, driving tours to hundreds of bluebird nesting boxes throughout town as well as arts and crafts, games and food and educational booths set up throughout the downtown area. (903) 873-3111; www.willspointbluebird.com.
April 26 – May 3
13th Annual Great Texas Birding Classic — Texas Coast. This friendly birding for conservation tournament is held each year to coincide with the spectacular spring migration. To date, $651,000 has been donated directly to habitat conservation projects through this event. Entry fees vary. (979) 480-0999; www.birdingclassic.org.
Festival on the Bayou — Houston Audubon’s Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center, Houston. Come celebrate International Migratory Bird Day with the Houston Audubon Society. Fun for all ages. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Ticket prices vary, available in advance or at the door. (713) 640-2407; www.houstonaudubon.org.
May 2 and 23
Day on the Bay Wetland Kayak Trip — Matagorda Bay Nature Park. Escape from the everyday world while paddling through a unique natural wetlands habitat. Discover why Matagorda County is number one in the nation for bird species diversification. Bring water shoes, sunscreen, bug spray, water and snacks for this two and a half mile excursion. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. $50 with boat and equipment rental, $25 with your own boat and equipment. Additional dates: June 20 and August 15. Ages 8 and up. (512) 369- 4740; www.lcra.org/matagorda.
Guided Bird Walk — Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, Lewisville. Accompany a master birder on a guided hike for birders of all skill levels. 7:30 a.m. $5 per person, reservations required. Ages 10 and up. (972) 219-3930; www.ias.unt.edu/llela.
5th Annual Birdathon — Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, San Antonio. Annual fundraising event where birders raise pledges based on species seen. Expert guides make this event fun for birders of all experience levels. Call to sign up or for details. 7:30 a.m. (210) 628-1639; www.mitchelllakeaudubon.org.
Dragonfly Days Family Nature Day — Valley Nature Center, Weslaco. Crafts and games, nature walks and lectures. $3 per child, adult admission is free with child admission. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (956) 969-2475; www.valleynaturecenter.org.
May 21 – 24
Dragonfly Days — Valley Nature Center, Weslaco. This festival includes speakers on dragonflies, field trips to different nature destinations, seminars and lots of opportunities to see birds, butterflies and, of course, dragonflies. Cost varies depending on activity. (956) 969-2475; www.valleynaturecenter.org.
May 23 – 24
Ranch Open House — Hill Country. The Texas Hill Country Nature Photography Alliance will open the ranch gates to visitors wishing to see what nature photography is all about. Visitors must contact each ranch individually in advance to reserve space. Free. (512) 264-1741; www.hillcountryphoto.org.
Wings Over the Wetlands — Matagorda Bay Nature Park. Join us for a beginners’ program on birding. Learn about birding equipment and migration routes, how to identify common Texas bird species and why birds are considered environmental indicators. Binoculars provided upon request. 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. $10 per person. All ages welcome. (512) 369- 4740; www.lcra.org/matagorda. Every Tuesday – Friday through AugustJUNE
Kids Nature Discovery Camp — Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center, McAllen. Children will discover the wonders of nature during each weeklong summer camp. There is a new camp each week for children ages 6 – 12. 9 a.m. – 12 noon. $60 per child/per week. (956) 681-3370; www.quintamazatlan.com.
June 1 – 5
Kids Summer Nature Camp — Valley Nature Center, Weslaco. Contact center for more information. Ages 6 – 8. (956) 969-2475; www.valleynaturecenter.org.
Kids Birding 101 — Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, San Antonio. Children will learn more about birding, including how to use binoculars and identify birds they see. Participants will also have a chance to explore the habitats at Mitchell Lake. 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. Free, reservations required. (210) 628-1639; www.mitchelllakeaudubon.org.
June 8 – 9
Kids Summer Nature Camp — Valley Nature Center, Weslaco. Contact center for more information. Ages 9 – 12. (956) 969-2475; www.valleynaturecenter.org.
Guided Bird Walk — Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, Lewisville. Accompany a master birder on a guided hike for birders of all skill levels. Second Saturday of every month, weather permitting. 7:30 a.m. $7 per person, reservations required. Ages 10 and up. (972) 219-3930; www.ias.unt.edu/llela.
June 22 – 26
Birds, Bayous, and Beyond — Houston Audubon’s Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center, Houston. Get ready for some birding fun and adventure. Our most popular camp is back with new activities and new birds to discover. 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. $125 for non-members, $100 for members. Ages 8 – 12. (713) 640-2407; www.houstonaudubon.org.
Introduction to Ornithology — Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary, Houston. The first in a series of classes to study the remarkable physiology of birds that makes them such amazing creatures of flight, migration and beauty. Instructor: Glenn Olsen. Call for cost and time. (713) 932-1639; www.houstonaudubon.org.July
July 2, 9, 16 and 23
Introduction to Ornithology — Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary, Houston. The first in a series of classes to study the remarkable physiology of birds that makes them such amazing creatures of flight, migration and beauty. Instructor: Glenn Olsen. Call for cost and time. (713) 932-1639; www.houstonaudubon.org.
July 14 – 17
Kids nature Photo Camp — Valley Nature Center, Weslaco. Contact center for more information. Ages 8 – 13. (956) 969-2475; www.valleynaturecenter.org.