You are currently viewing Texas Birding Festivals 2024 (Dates, Costs, Locations)

Texas Birding Festivals 2024 (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 2024

April 12 – 14Matagorda Bay BirdfestPalacios, TX
Apr 18-21FeatherFestGalveston, TX
Apr 24 – 28Birdiest Festival in AmericaCorpus Christi
Apr 26Balcones Canyonlands Songbird Festivalnear Marble Falls, TX
May 2 – 5Birding the BorderDel Rio
Sept 19 – 21HummerBird CelebrationRockport/Fulton, TX
Sept 14 & 21Xtreme Hummingbird XtravaganzaLake Jackson, TX
Nov 6 – 10Rio Grande Valley Birding FestivalHarlingen, TX

Texas Birding Festivals in 2025

DateBirding FestivalLocation
Feb – TBDSparrowFestBalcones Canyonlands near Marble Falls, TX
Feb 5 – 8Laredo Birding FestivalLaredo, TX
Feb 20 – 23Whooping Crane FestivalPort Aransas, TX
Aug 14 – 17Davis Mnts Hummingbird CelebrationFort Davis, TX


When: Early February 2025 – Date TBD
Where: Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge near Marble Falls, TX
Cost: $150

Balcones Canyonlands
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 provide identification workshops for over 15 native sparrow species. Participants are split into small groups to maximize viewing opportunities.

Possible Sparrow Species Include:

  • LeConte’s Sparrow
  • Black-throated Sparrow
  • Grasshopper Sparrow
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow
  • Savannah Sparrow
  • Song Sparrow
  • Field Sparrow
  • Vesper Sparrow
  • Rufous-crowned Sparrow
  • Lark Sparrow
  • Swamp Sparrow
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • Fox Sparrow
  • Harris’s Sparrow
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Dark-eyed Junco

Participants are encouraged to bring their own spotting scopes, but group leaders will also have one to share with the group. Be sure to wear sturdy hiking boots for the rugged terrain and prickly pear cactus. 

Lark Sparrow
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 will likely be less than 12 people each.

Registration includes breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack and hot drink.

This workshop is all day, from 7am to 5pm. It takes place at Doeskin Ranch, which provides a paved parking lot, several miles of hiking trails, and a small restroom. The rocky, grassy habitat here is excellent for sparrows.

Visit the Friends of Balcones Website to register. Note that spaces often sell out 2 – 3 weeks ahead of time.

Laredo Birding Festival

When: February 5th – 8th, 2025
Where: Laredo, TX
Cost: From $90 to $300+

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 13 full-day trips led by professional birding guides. Day trip options include exploring private ranchland, kayak trips, and rich local hotspots. Keynote speakers present in the evenings. 

Some of the most exciting species to see are:

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

In previous years, La Posada Hotel in Laredo hosted the 4-day event. Note that this event often sells out several months in advance.

Check the Laredo Birding Festival Website or their Facebook page for registration details as they become available.

Whooping Crane Festival

When: February 20 – 23, 2025
Where: Port Aransas, TX
Cost: Over 40 options, ranging from FREE to $95 each. 

The Whooping Crane Festival celebrates the endangered cranes that overwinter at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. The central Texas coast during winter is also a hotbed of shorebird, duck, and raptor activity, making for an overall fantastic birding experience.

This is a full blown birding festival, with more options than any one person could experience in a single weekend.

Whooping Crane Festival options include:

  • Whooping Crane Boat Tour – $85 (sells out fast!)
  • King Ranch Birding Tour – $105 (sells out fast!)
  • Sunset Wine, Bird, and Dolphin Boat Cruise – $50 (sells out fast!)
  • Island Birding Bus Tour – $25
  • Bird Photography Workshop – $45
  • Shorebird Identification Workshop – $45

…plus about a dozen other options. Full list here.

All options are offered a la carte, so you create your own itinerary. To register for this festival, add each item to your shopping cart and then pay for everything at the end.

The Port Aransas Website and Festival Facebook Page often has 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: April 12 – 14, 2024
Where: Palacios, Texas
Cost: From $45 to $185+

Roseate Spoonbill

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

This festival offers birding tours led by expert guides on land and sea. Boat and kayak tours, art and photography contests, raptor display, and shopping the vendor tables are some of the highlights of this festival. 

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

Register on the Matagorda Bay Birdfest Website.

FeatherFest Birding & Nature Photography Festival

When: April 18 – 21, 2024
Where: Galveston, TX
Cost: $25 registration, plus options ranging from $20 to $250+ each.

Prothonotary Warbler

Galveston Island is an exciting destination, with over 300 bird species throughout the year, and is well known for its spring migration birding.

FeatherFest features guided bird tours, photography workshops, boat and kayak tours, and pollinator plant gardening workshops. Participants can expect colorful neotropical migrants like warblers, migrating raptors, and shorebirds by the hundreds or even thousands. 

FeatherFest offers over 100 field trips and activities, most for $100 or less. View the full list of options and costs here.

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 peak spring migration, which is one of the best times of year to visit nearby 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 24 – 38, 2024
Where: Corpus Christi & surrounding area
Cost: $40 Registration Fee, plus trips from $20 to $195

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 in America 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.

This festival really lives up to its name, with a before and after festival tour to far South Texas for Mexican specialties like Green Jay and Altamira Oriole. The main festival week covers major hotspots across a 1.5 hour radius from Corpus Christi.

The 2024 keynote is The Beauty of Terns with speaker Cameron Cox, the author of Terns of North America and expert on shorebird and waterfowl identification.

Here are examples of the field trips led by bird experts:

Field Trip DestinationCost
King Ranch – Norias Division$195
Guadalupe Delta W.M.A.$115
Port Aransas$60
Rockport-Fulton Boat Tour$125
Hazel Bazemore Park$75
Choke Canyon State Park$115
Aransas N.W.R.$105
Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve$25

More laid back bird walks are available at the South Texas Botanical Gardens, and are $20 per person. These 3 hour walks are an easy way to see migrating songbirds, shorebirds, and raptors all in one spot.

To register and see the full list of trips and activities, see the official website here.

Balcones Canyonlands Songbird Festival

When: April 26, 2024
Where: Balcones Canyonlands NWR Headquarters near Marble Falls, TX
Cost: $100

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, plus Black-capped Vireo, both of which can be seen as early as March and April. 

Experienced bird guides will lead birders through pristine Texas Hill Country habitat perfect for Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo, and Painted Bunting. 

Trips will utilize a 15 person van for transport to best habitat.

Registration opens February 14, 2023. Check the Friends of Balcones Canyonlands NWR Facebook Page and Website for the event status. 

Birding the Border

When: May 2 – 5, 2024
Del Rio, TX
Cost: $65registration, plus trips from $100 – $150

*registration deadline is April 19th

Ringed Kingfisher by Becky Matsubara

Birding the Border takes place in Val Verde and Kinney counties, with the festival headquarters in Del Rio. 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 from 11 location options.

Photographers can choose a trip focused on bird blinds, and unique, photogenic spots. Beginner birders can choose a group specifically designed to be beginner friendly.

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 (game similar to bingo) at Mesquite Creek Outfitters.

Some of the most exciting species include:

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

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

Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza

When: September 14 & 21, 2024
Where: Lake Jackson, TX
Cost: $5 per person (kids 12 & under free)

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, guest speakers, a native plant sale, and kid-friendly 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 19 -22, 2024
Where: Rockport, TX
$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:

Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival

When: November 6 – 10, 2024
Where: Harlingen, TX
Varies – registration typically $50, but free options also available

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

Details for 2024 are still being finalized, but here’s what we know so far:

  • HQ will be at the Harlingen Convention Center 
  • Activities will include field trips, seminars, a trade show, a silent auction, a raptor show, kids’ activities and free family fun
  • Offers will include boat trips, photography excursions, bus and van tours to private ranches
  • Access to the King Ranch ($130), known for Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls

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
2023 Brochure with all field trips

The Davis Mountains Hummingbird Celebration

When: August 14 – 17 2025
Where: Ft. Davis, TX
$195, plus field trip costs

Rufous Hummingbird

This event only occurs every other year on odd years, and always sells out.

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

A single weekend can bring 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 possibly White-eared Hummingbird.

Migration in the west Texas mountains is peaking for all species during August, so you’ll also see great birds like warblers, vireos, and flycatchers.

Official website: