Texas Birding Festivals 2022 (Dates, Costs, Locations)

Texas Birding Festivals 2022 (Dates, Costs, Locations)

Texas hosts more bird watching festivals than any other state in America. 

Most are along the coast and during spring migration (April), or during winter months.

Below you’ll find an annual schedule of Texas bird watching festivals with details about each one.

Texas Birding Festivals in 2022

MonthBirding FestivalLocation
JanEagle FestEmory, TX
FebLaredo Birding FetivalLaredo, TX
FebSparrowFestBalcones Canyonlands
FebWhooping Crane FestivalPort Aransas, TX
AprFeatherFestGalveston, TX
AprBirdiest Festival in AmericaCorpus Christi
AprB.C. Songbird FestivelBalcones Canyonlands
AprBirding the BorderDel Rio
AprS. Llano River S.P. Birding FestivalS. Llano River State Park
SeptHummerBird CelebrationRockport/Fulton, TX
SeptXtreme Hummingbird XtravaganzaLake Jackson, TX
NovRio Grande Valley Birding FestivalHarlingen, TX

Texas Birding Festivals 2023

MonthBirding FestivalLocation
AugDavis Mnts. Hummingbird CelebrationFt. Davis, TX

Eagle Fest

When: January 2022, Date TBD
Where: Emory, TX
Cost: General Admission is $5. Bus tours are $5, barge tours are $35 per person. 

Bald Eagle

Come and see one of the largest and most iconic predators in Texas – the Bald Eagle.

Bus tours will take you to known feeding grounds and nesting sites of Bald Eagles, giving you great views of multiple eagles. In 2020, Birds of Prey live demonstrations and Aztec dance performances were also featured.

Lake Tawakoni and Lake Fork in North Texas are the featured destinations here. Both are known to attract healthy numbers of nesting eagles each winter. Bus and barge tours at Lake Fork, and bus tours at Lake Tawakoni provide a unique opportunity to view bald eagles in their natural habitat.

This event is primarily a population count in partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to track eagle numbers over time. This festival is special because you’re participating in meaningful data collection for conservation and wildlife management agencies.

Dates and details are still being finalized for 2022. Check the Eagle Fest Homepage and Facebook Page for up to date info. Tickets may be available online or purchased on site.

Laredo Birding Festival

When: February 2nd-5th, 2022
Where: Laredo, TX
Cost: Registration info. TBD

Morelet's Seedeater
Morelet’s Seedeater by Dominic Sherony

Laredo is a historically rich city on the Mexican border. With multiple birding hotspots at over 250 species, it’s known for occasionally attracting big Mexican rarities like Amazon Kingfisher and Blue Mockingbird.

Birders can choose from several all-day trips led by professional birders and members of the local Audubon Society. Day trip options include exploring private ranchland, kayak trips, and visiting local hotspots. Keynote speakers will present in the evenings. 

Some of the most exciting species to see are:

  • Morelet’s Seedeater
  • Scaled Quail
  • Gray Hawk
  • Ringed Kingfisher
  • Green Kingfisher
  • Audubon’s Oriole
  • Altamira Orioles
  • Green Parakeets
  • Red-billed Pigeon
  • Clay-colored Thrush

In previous years, La Posada Hotel in Laredo hosted the 3-day event. Check the Laredo Birding Festival Website or their Facebook page for registration details as they become available. 

Sparrowfest

When: February, 2022 – Date TBD
Where: Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge in Marble Falls, TX
Cost: FREE

Balcones Canyonlands

Over 20 species of sparrows overwinter at the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge in the Texas Hill Country. Few other places in the United States can offer such high sparrow diversity.

Experienced bird guides lead hikes through hilly terrain, and a special guest speaker and educational activities take place throughout the day. The event will most likely be scheduled for a Saturday in early February.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own binoculars or spotting scopes, and wear sturdy hiking boots for the rugged terrain and prickly pear cactus. 

Lark Sparrow

Birders can expect to be hiking at a relatively slow pace for several hours, while observing flocks of winter sparrows and other migratory birds. Groups are likely going to be less than 12 people each.

In previous years, additional purchases of the all-inclusive weekend retreat at Balcones Springs ($349) or Sparrow Identification Workshop ($100) have been available.

To register for the free event, or purchase additional reservations, check the Friends of Balcones Canyonlands NWR Facebook Page and Website for the event status. 

Whooping Crane Festival

When: February 24th-27th, 2022
Where: Port Aransas, TX
Cost: $25-$295 

The Whooping Crane Festival celebrates these endangered cranes that overwinter at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Whooping Cranes mate for life, and this festival can be a unique way for birders to celebrate Valentine’s Day. 

Registration for the event is $25 per person, and includes access to the keynote speakers. Online pre-registration allows guests the first choice on tours, trips, and workshops (priced separately). 

The Whooping Crane Festival ($295) will include:

  • Access to all presentations
  • 4 hour cruise through Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
  • Dinner for all 3 evening

Lunch and lodging are not included, and van transportation is available for $60 per person. Registration for this package is available through EarthX.

Other activities include birding hikes, photography trips, workshops, vendors, book signing, painting classes, and more. In previous years, guests could book their stay with sponsor host hotels on Port Aransas.

The Port Aransas Website and Festival Facebook Page will have the registration information before the festival begins. There is also an e-newsletter that will keep you up to date on the event status. 

Matagorda Bay Birdfest

When: Postponed
Where: Palacios, Texas
Cost: TBD

The Matagorda Bay Birdfest usually occurs in March, but has been postponed until further notice due to Covid-19 conerns.

Matagorda Bay is a fantastic winter bird watching area, with the highest number of bird species during the Audubon Christmas Bird Count in Texas.

During previous festivals, birding tours were led by expert guides on land and sea. Boat and kayak tours, art and photography contests, presentations, prizes, and parades were some of the highlights of this festival. 

Participants have the choice of several tours, including visits to Powderhorn Ranch, Mad Island Marsh, and Matagorda Bay.

More information can be found on the Matagorda Bay Birdfest Website and Facebook page.

FeatherFest Birding & Nature Photography Festival

When: April 21st-April 24th, 2022
Where: Galveston, TX
Cost: TBD

Prothonotary Warbler

Galveston Island’s FeatherFest in April is an exciting destination, with over 300 bird species throughout the year, and many habitats to explore. Galveston is in the northern portion of the Gulf of Mexico, making it a shorter commute for some travelers.

Birding activities during the weeklong FeatherFest will include guided tours, photography contests, kayak trips, and raptor shows. Some events will be free to the public, while others will require a registration fee. 

Participants can expect to bird along the oceanside beaches, and in the marshes on the bayside. Galveston Island State Park is also a highlight destination during this festival. 

Featherfest is held during spring migration, and it is one of the best times of year to visit Bolivar Flats and High Island.

The Bolivar Peninsula can be reached by the Galveston-Bolivar ferry, which runs 24/7 and is free to ride. Ferry information can be found on the TXDOT Website.

Registration and schedule of activities will be available soon via the FeatherFest Website.

Birdiest Festival in America

When: April 20th-24th, 2022
Where: Corpus Christi, Port Aransas, and Kingsville, TX
Cost: $35 Registration Fee

Indigo Bunting
Indigo Bunting by Kelly Colgan Azar

The Texas coast during peak spring migration is one of the top birding destinations in the United States. Dazzling numbers of colorful migrations make for wonderful memories, especially for first time visitors.

The Birdiest Festival takes place over 4 days, with action packed field trips, presentations, and social events. Vendors, crafts, food trucks, and multiple presentations on birds will provide plenty of activities when participants are not in the field.

Expect to see both neotropical migrants (orioles, buntings, vireos, warblers), as well as shorebirds in full breeding plumage.

Registration ($35) includes 3 presentations and 1 workshop. Additional talks are $5 and additional workshops are $15.

Here are examples of the field trips led by bird experts from the 2021 Birdiest Festival (all day). Water and snacks were provided.

Field Trip DestinationCost
King Ranch$165
Guadalupe Delta W.M.A.$85
Port Aransas$65
Rockport-Fulton$75
Hazel Bazemore Park$65
Choke Canyon State Park$85
Aransas N.W.R.$85

Bird walks are also available with local guides, and are $5 per person. These locations include the South Texas Botanical Gardens, Goose Island State Park, and Bulcher Park. The bird walks are a great option for birders who would prefer to be out in the field for only a half-day trip. 

The 2022 Birdiest Festival Bird Trips are still to be announced, so stay up to date on their Website.

Balcones Canyonlands Songbird Festival

When: April, 2022 – Date TBD
Where: Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge in Marble Falls, TX
Cost: FREE

At the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge in Texas Hill Country, over 200 bird species have been identified. The refuge is home to the endangered golden-cheeked warbler and delisted black-capped vireo, which can be seen as early as March and April. 

Experienced bird guides will lead hikes on closed areas of the refuge, and other interpretive events may be scheduled throughout the day. 

In years prior, multiple hikes with varying difficulty occurred along with educational programs such as “Learning to Bird by Ear” and “Take Flight for New Birders”. Food trucks and gifts may be available for purchase during the event.

To register for the free event, check the Friends of Balcones Canyonlands NWR Facebook Page and Website for the event status. 

Birding the Border

When: TBD (Probably April 28th – May 1st, 2022)
Where: Del Rio, TX

Cost: $50 (optional day trips for $100-$145)

Ringed Kingfisher by Becky Matsubara

Birding the Border takes place in Val Verde and Kinney counties, and hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Bird tours will take place in three unique ecoregions: the Edwards Plateau, South Texas Plains, and the Chihuahuan Desert. 

Small groups will be led by a professional bird guide, and transportation and lunch will be provided. Participants will choose one hike each day, with up to 5 location options. Photographers can choose a trip focused on bird blinds, and unique, photogenic spots.

Texas A&M AgriLife may also host educational seminars with special guests, Val Verde Winery Social, dinner at Kickapoo Caverns State Park, and Birds and Beer with Birding Lotería at Mesquite Creek Outfitters.

Some of the most exciting species include:

  • Golden-cheeked Warbler 
  • Black-capped Vireo
  • Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
  • Elf Owl
  • Ringed Kingfisher
  • Green Kingfisher
  • Morelet’s Seedeater
  • Varied Bunting
  • Indigo Bunting
  • Painted Bunting
  • Tropical Parula 

Check the Birding on the Border Website and Facebook page for updated registration info. 

South Llano River State Park Birding Festival

When: Official Date TBD. Probably April 29th-May 1st, 2022.
Where: South Llano River State Park, TX

Cost: $100 ($50 for youth under 13)

Black-throated Sparrow

The South Llano River Birding Festival is hosted by the South Llano River State Park and Texas Tech University. With over 250 species identified at the state park, this birding festival will be an exciting weekend for any birder.

Many programs will be available each day, with varying difficulty and duration. Presentations with special guest speakers and breakfasts will be provided.

Previous festivals have provided hikes such as: 

  • Golden-cheeked Warbler Walks
  • Mist-netting and Banding
  • Birding the Riparian
  • Birding Golf Cart Tour
  • Birding Around Town

The state park also maintains 4 bird blinds. Black-capped Vireo have been known to visit them, offering birders fantastic views and perfect photo opportunities.

Registration and event details should be available on the Facebook Page by 2022.

Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza

When: September 2022
Where: Lake Jackson, TX
Cost: $5 per person

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The Gulf Coast Bird Observatory in Lake Jackson, TX is one of the best places to view the ruby-throated hummingbird fall migration. This low-cost event features hummingbird banding, adoptions, guest speakers, and many educational activities. 

The XHX is a great way for bird enthusiasts to try bird banding, under the guidance of a professional. More information can be found on the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory Website

Other events, such as Brew on the Bayou (October) and Smith Point Hawk Watch (August-November) can also be found on the website.

Rockport-Fulton HummerBird Celebration

When: September 16th-19th, 2021
Where: Rockport, TX
Cost: $5 – $30 for speaker sessions, $12 – $100 for field trips & workshops

Hummingbirds at Feeder

If seeing swarms of hummingbirds by the dozens, all darting and zooming around you only feet away, sounds like a great time then this festival is guaranteed to delight.

While the Rockport-Fulton festival doesn’t have the hummingbird diversity of the Davis Mountains Hummingbird Celebration, it does have sheer numbers that are hard to find elsewhere.

Main features of this festival are guided birding trips, birding boat tours, hummingbird banding demonstrations, photography classes, and visiting local homes that have great hummingbird feeding set ups.

The Rockport area is an all around fantastic birding location during September, with tons of migrant birds moving through. It’s famous for the hawk migration (mostly Broad-winged and Swainson’s Hawks).

Shorebirds will be plentiful, plus warblers, vireos, flycatchers, and occasional falcons.

If you’re looking for a big fall migration birding festival, the Rockport-Fulton HummerBird Celebration is the perfect choice.

Official website: https://www.rockport-fulton.org/Hummer_About_the_Celebration

Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival

When: November 10th-14th, 2021
Where: Harlingen, TX
Cost: $50 with proof of Covid vaccination ($300 without proof)

Green Jay

This is it – the big one. The largest birding festival in Texas, and one of the largest in the nation.

The RGVBF offers over 125 field trips to choose from, plus keynote speaker seminars, photography workshops, raptor banding demonstrations, the Birder’s Bazaar trade show, and dinners and socials.

According to the official brochure,

“the RGVBF has long been known for its low ratio of participants to guides and for the quality of its leaders.”

And, of course, for the incredible south Texas birding.

In 2019 festival participants saw a combined total of 278 species in 4 days.

Typical highlight species include:

  • Fulvous Whistling Duck
  • Cinnamon Teal
  • Mexican Duck
  • Mottled Duck
  • Plain Chachalaca
  • Red-billed Pigeon
  • White-tipped Dove
  • Groove-billed Ani
  • Wood Stork
  • Least Grebe
  • Harris’s Hawk
  • Gray Hawk
  • Zone-tailed Hawk
  • Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
  • Ringed Kingfisher
  • Green Kingfisher
  • Aplomado Falcon
  • Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet
  • Great Kiskadee
  • Tropical Kingbird
  • Green Jay
  • Clay-colored Thrush
  • Sprague’s Pipit
  • Olive Sparrow
  • Hooded Oriole
  • Altamira Oriole
  • Audubon’s Oriole
  • Tropical Parula
  • Yellow Warbler (Mangrove)
  • Morelet’s Seedeater

Plus about 20 warbler species each year.

Rarities in recent years have included

  • White-winged Scoter
  • Long-tailed Duck
  • Hook-billed Kite
  • Roadside Hawk
  • Rose-throated Becard
  • Tamaulipas Crow
  • Blue Mockingbird

RGVBF Official Website
2021 Brochure with all field trips

The Davis Mountains Hummingbird Celebration

When: August (likely the 3rd weekend)
Where: Ft. Davis, TX
Cost: $50
(plus field trips from $30 to $85)

Rufous Hummingbird

This event only occurs every other year. August 2023 will be your next opportunity.

In the high elevation sky-island habitat of west Texas, hummingbird migration is in full swing during August. 

A single weekend can provide views of over 8 different species of hummingbirds as they constantly feed at nectar feeders and blooming flowers.

This festival features half-day and full-day field trips to fantastic locations such as the Christmas Mountains Oasis, Balmorhea Lake, The TNC Davis Mountains Preserve, Davis Mountains State Park, plus private ranches and properties in the area.

In addition to field trips, a social meet-and-greet dinner is hosted Saturday evening, plus a special guest speaker presentation on recent birding news and research projects.

This festival is a great way to get access to normally off-limits private properties, such as the Davis Mountains Resort neighborhood, which is easily one of the best places in Texas to see hummingbirds during migration.

Davis Mountains
High up in the Davis Mountains

Hummingbirds commonly seen during the Davis Mountains Hummingbird Celebration:

  • Black-chinned Hummingbird
  • Rufous Hummingbird
  • Broad-billed Hummingbird
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Anna’s Hummingbird
  • Lucifer Hummingbird
  • Calliope Hummingbird
  • Rivoli’s Hummingbird

Plus occasional rarities like Costa’s Hummingbird, Broad-billed Hummingbird, and maybe White-eared Hummingbird.

Migration in the west Texas mountains is peaking for all species, so you’ll have even more to look forward to than hummingbirds, like warblers, vireos, and flycatchers.

Official website: https://davismountainshummingbirdcelebration.com/