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A Talk on the Wild Side.

Bird Festivals Are Back!

pair of brown and white birds with red eyes, long orange beak and black cap running down neck, swim; chick on one's back reaches for scrap in parent's beakA Clarks grebes family swims at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah, a destination at the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival in May. Photo by Renda Glick/Share the Experience, 2016 contest

Many bird celebrations featuring wildlife refuges are set to go again in 2021, after a year of widespread cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure visitor safety, some festivals will be all-virtual, some will be on site, and others will be a mix. 

hundreds of birds fly over water under blue skySandpipers fly over Kachemak Bay in Homer, Alaska, site of a May festival co-hosted by Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Carla Stanley/USFWS

Here is our 2021 Bird Festival Planner, starting with events in April and running through the end of the year. 

No matter the format, bird festivals are great nature shows. And since national wildlife refuges are such birdy places, it’s fitting that they play a major role. 

Many of the more than 560 national wildlife refuges are located along major bird migration routes. National wildlife refuges, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, also have bird experts and wildlife viewing areas.  | Find a refuge near you.

In-person events fill up fast, especially with attendance limits, so consider registering ahead if you go. Be safe, wear a mask, and avoid crowding. Some festivals charge a registration or activity fee.  

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