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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

BirdFest Texoma

Region 2, May 3, 2013
BirdFest Texoma photographers at sunrise.
BirdFest Texoma photographers at sunrise. - Photo Credit: n/a
David Allen Sibley and the painted bunting painting he did during BirdFest Texoma and donated to the Friends of Hagerman NWR.
David Allen Sibley and the painted bunting painting he did during BirdFest Texoma and donated to the Friends of Hagerman NWR. - Photo Credit: n/a
Kayaking Big Mineral Creek during BirdFest Texoma.
Kayaking Big Mineral Creek during BirdFest Texoma. - Photo Credit: n/a

BirdFest Texoma was developed and hosted by the Friends of Hagerman (Friends) National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Held May 3-5th, 2013, the purpose of the festival was to foster awareness of the Hagerman NWR, the National Wildlife Refuge System and invite people to learn more about birds, wildlife, and native plants while enjoying the great outdoors.

 

The keynote was David Allen Sibley, author and illustrator of The Sibley Guide to Birds, which is considered by many to be the most comprehensive guide for North American field identification. He led a field trip, did two book signings and painted a painted bunting during "The Art of Birding With David Allen Sibley." Sibley donated the artwork to the Friends, which was auctioned during the festival and purchased for $4,600. The proceeds will be used in support of a conservation project on the refuge.

Approximately 600 visitors enjoyed seeing the 36 raptors highlighted during the five shows done by the Raptor Project. Professional photographers Kathy Adams Clark and John English led workshops and field trips aimed at intermediate and advanced wildlife photographers. Seven free shorebird tram tours and one refuge van tour all filled to capacity, as did the many birding field trips. Additional programs enjoyed by the public included kayak/canoe tours on Big Mineral Creek, wildflower walks, guided bird walks, and a mist-netting demonstration with the capture and banding of several birds including an ovenbird, a rare species for the area.

Sponsors within the surrounding community donated $22,000 to the Friends in support of the festival, which was a tremendous success. The first-time festival had an estimated attendance of 1,100-1,200 with visitors traveling from nine states, including AR, OK, TX, CA, AL, NY, VA, MI and MN.

Contact Info: Nancy Brown, 512-339-9432, nancy_brown@fws.gov