The 22nd annual birding festival will be held
in Harlingen, at the Harlingen Municipal Complex
at Fair Park, with events from Thursday,
November 5 through Sunday, November 8 (2015). It
attracts birders from the Valley and around the
world. Field trips, seminars, book signings, and
a free trade show keep visitors busy. There are
some 540 bird species
in the Valley, fifty of
which are specialties
best seen here in the
US. This attracts birders
to the Valley and to
This year the Birders
Bazaar (trade show)
will run Thursday
through Sunday, 12
noon to 6 pm every day except Sunday when
it closes at 5 pm. This free event offers over
100 exhibits about birding hot spots in the Valley,
hot spots to visit around the world, optics
and other birding gears, birding tours available,
books, cards, native plants, some wonderful
art, a cafe, and excellent raptor demonstrations.
At any time during the Birders Bazaar there
are raptors perched at
one end of the hall,
where one can study
them and photograph
them. Then during the
day every few hours
there is a great demonstration
by Jonathan Wood. He
speaks about them and
flies some of them inside
the hall. The Trade Show is an event that
should not be missed. You can have your photo
taken with a live raptor by the staff at the Raptor
One of my favorite events at the Birders Bazaar
is the Silent Auction. Here on offer are
dozens of birding related items, from accommodations
and optics, to art and gear. Folks
simply make bids by writing their name, telephone
number and amount bid on the sheet.
Anyone else can come by and do the same,
upping the bid. The auction closes on Sunday
at 4 pm when the highest bids get to purchase
the item for their bid.
The fun is dreaming about buying these items
for great prices. Of course the prices rise as the
days go by and other folks come by and make
a higher bid.
Field trips for birders and seminars in the
evening are the core of the festival. There is
a great choice of trips, and many of them sell
out. However the seminars always have seats
available. Check RGVBF.org
for more details about these.
The festival offers many different Family Activities.
On Saturday Jonathan Wood and the
Raptor Project will offer a free raptor show for
the whole family in the Harlingen Auditorium
for an hour beginning at 11 am. Imagine hearing
stories about hawks and owls, then seeing a
hawk or falcon fly just above the crowd, skimming
over people to circle back to Jonathan
who has trained it to fly and perch on his hand.
This is falconry at its most impressive. The
Raptor Project birds are typically handicapped
rescue birds that cannot survive on their own in
the wild, and are now engaged in education to
make their living.
Kiskadee Korner offers fun for the family. It
is also no charge and runs from 12 noon to 4 pm
both Saturday and Sunday. It offers crafts, games,
and other activities geared toward families with
children, many about wildlife that can be found
in everyone's back yard here in the Valley.
Learn the basics of birding on a fun family
(for folks of all ages) bird walk at 9 am
Saturday with several expert leaders who will
offer information and anecdotes about birding
for families while walking through Fair Park
watching birds. Also they will talk about and
show how to use a field guide and binoculars.
There is also a student art and writing
contest for grades 5 to 12 being held Sunday
at 1:30 pm involving drawing Valley
birds and writing about Valley birds.
There are often celebrities walking the Birder
Bazaar, and book signings at the end of the day.
Check out the schedule online at RGVBF.org
The author of this column will also be there
running an exhibit for Alamo Inn B&B, Gear
& Tours. Come meet me and chat about your
To find other nature events this fall, simply
google your interests or the name of some
wildlife hot spots, or search for them on facebook.
Have fun in the fall here in our Valley,
enjoying our rich wildlife.