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FeatherFest 2022

FeatherFest Galveston TX
FeatherFest Galveston TX

20th Annual FeatherFest on Galveston Island event is a popular birding and photography festival hosted by the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council (GINTC)

April 19, 2022 — April 25, 2022
Registration Deadline is April 17, 2022 6:00 PM

Birding Field Trips in Galveston

Galveston Complete Birding Sampler
April 21 @ 6:30 am – 11:30 am   
Details: FeatherFest Galveston Field Trip
Explore the entire island with our local leaders. They know the birding spots well, and will consider the weather, tides, and what they have seen just prior to or during the festival, to decide what to view and where to go. In that regard, the tour is not fixed rigidly in advance, but is more a birding adventure. You’ll go where the birds are!

Targets: American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, Roseate Spoonbill, sandpipers, waterfowl, prairie birds, sparrows, raptors, herons, egrets, and dowitchers. If migrant songbirds are on the Island, these leaders will find them!

East Galveston with Glenn Olsen
April 21 @ 7:30 am – 11:30 am
Details: East Galveston FeatherFest

We will concentrate on gaining a deeper understanding of bird identification. Our approach is to observe differences in body structure, behavior, habitat preferences, and feeding styles of various species of birds. This trip allows us time to observe and discover the distinct characteristics of each species as opposed to generating a list of a larger number of species that we know little about. Notebooks are encouraged!

More information about the following field trips/workshops is available on the FeatherFest website.

Galveston Birding with Kevin Karlson
April 21 @ 8:00 am – 12:30 pm
We’re happy to welcome back Kevin Karlson for FeatherFest 2022! You’ll enjoy this trip that could go anywhere on the Island based on where the birds are! Kevin will decide the destinations depending on what he’s scouted out before the festival. He’ll check out Corps Woods, Lafitte’s Cove, the East End Flats, Sportsman Road and sites all the way to San Luis Pass so that he’ll be able to take you to all the best birding spots on the Island.

Coastal Birding Workshop & Field Trip
April 21 @ 12:30 pm – 4:45 pm
Birders will find this workshop/field trip combo the perfect introduction to coastal birding. During the workshop, your guides will give a brief discussion about the diversity of species, as well as various techniques to identify birds on the Upper Texas Coast. We will then board our bus and proceed to the East End Lagoon Nature Preserve beach area where you’ll see Black Skimmer, American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, and many species of shorebirds, gulls, terns, sandpipers, plovers, and more. Stops along the way will highlight birds preferring marsh habitat.

Galveston Bay Birding, the Flip Side #1
April 21 @ 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm
This is your opportunity to explore “the other side” of Galveston Bay. We head over the causeway bridge to explore birding areas on the Mainland side of Galveston Bay in the Tiki Island, Texas City, and La Marque areas. One of our best kept secrets and most under explored areas, participants will be surprised at the number and variety of birds seen on this outing. Birding locations may include some privately-owned land with fresh water ponds that provide easy observation of migrating shorebirds and ducks. American Golden Plover, Upland Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, and Wilson’s Phalarope are often seen at this location during migration.
Additional dates/times may be available, check online for specific registration.

Songbirds on the West End #1
April 21 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
This field trip searches for the spring songbird richness found on West Galveston Island, with a special emphasis on warblers, vireos, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks and buntings. Guests will walk through Lafitte’s Cove Nature Preserve, Galveston’s crown jewel for migrating songbirds. Several species of vireos and warblers were seen in the oak mott last spring. Freshwater ponds at the entrance to the preserve provide up-close views of migrating shorebirds, ducks, both species of dowitchers and yellowlegs, Solitary and Pectoral Sandpipers, Marsh…
Additional dates/times may be available, check online for specific registration.

Greet the Dawn at Virginia Point
April 22 @ 5:30 am – 11:30 am
During this field trip we will visit some areas not normally publicly accessible. Virginia Point is a historic peninsula location across Galveston Bay comprising the wonderful 3,000 acres of mainland bay margin which SCENIC GALVESTON, Inc. (SG) has acquired for permanent conservation protection. Visitors coming into or out of Galveston on I-45 (the O’Quinn Estuary Corridor) see the results of this non-profit’s work on both flanks, and those areas are open to the public.

Galveston Island Birding with Greg Miller
April 22 @ 6:30 am – 3:00 pm
Greg is so much fun to bird with that we decided to add a trip where he will concentrate on just Galveston Island! We’ll let Greg decide where he wants to go depending on what he’s scouted out before the festival. He’ll check out Corps Woods, Lafitte’s Cove, the East End Flats, Sportsman Road, and sites all the way to San Luis Pass so that he’ll be able to take you to all the best birding spots on the Island.

E-bike Birding #1
April 22 @ 7:00 am – 11:00 am
Enjoy zipping along on a quiet and easy electric bike that allows you to get up close and personal with the resident and migratory birds species seen at this time of year. This nearly effortless ride allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of our wetlands and beaches.
Additional dates/times may be available, check online for specific registration.

Birding by Ear
April 22 @ 8:00 am – 11:00 am
Ever chase a bird song in the canopy of tall oaks then chase it until the bird stops singing? Ever sit in your backyard and hear a strange bird song in the distance? In both cases you had no chance to see the bird. In both cases you wondered what it was. All birds vocalize and for songbirds’ song is necessary for species survival. A unique biology found only in birds lies behind bird song and communication. The genetics that drive bird vocalizations are not very different than humans.

West Isle Marsh and Shorebirds Field Trip by Bus
April 23 @ 7:15 am – 11:15 am
Participants will travel by bus to Galveston Island’s West End shorebird hot spots to bird the freshwater ponds, coastal marshes, and bay waters. We begin the field trip with herons and egrets, migrating shorebirds and waterfowl in the wetland areas so numerous in this section of the island. We may encounter Clapper Rail, Black-necked Stilt, Common Loon, diving ducks and “peeps.” There is also excellent viewing of American Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Ruddy Turnstone, dowitchers, gulls and terns that gather on the private piers on Sportsman Road. From there we travel to Lafitte’s Cove to walk the paths in search of migrating and nesting songbirds in the oaks and wading birds in the ponds.

Moody Gardens Birding Hot Spots
April 23 @ 8:00 am – 11:00 am
Join Greg Whittaker on a guided tour of the birds of Moody Gardens. This unique combination field trip will include a guided tour through the canopy level of the Tropical Rainforest exhibit as well as a viewing of the Penguins in the Aquarium Pyramid. You will learn everything you wanted to know about how our Life Science and Exhibit Operations team manages a diverse collection of tropical species within the Rainforest biome as well as the 7 species of penguins…

East Beach Field Trip with Kevin Karlson
April 23 @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Join Kevin for a relaxed birding experience at Galveston Island’s East Beach area. We will tour though East End Lagoon Nature Preserve, catching views of a precious and increasingly rare ecosystem. We will explore 684 acres of Galveston’s largest undeveloped habitat including one of the few remaining sizable tracts of coastal prairie. The site contains both tidal and nontidal wetlands, beach dunes, a freshwater pond, black mangroves, and upland prairie, along with an extensive marine coastline.

East Island Birding with Greg Miller
April 23 @ 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Bird Galveston’s East End with one of the world’s most famous birders! In 1998, Greg zig-zagged 130,000 miles across the USA hoping to reach at least 700 species of birds in one calendar year.

Galveston FeatherFest: Birding Workshops

In addition to the many wonderful hands-on field trips led by local birding experts, FeatherFest offers amazing educational workshops about migrating and local nature topics. The workshops are interesting and affordable, most ranging just $20-$25. Here is a brief outline, get more details here.
 
  • Coastal Birding Workshop & Field Trip
    April 21 @ 12:30 pm – 4:45 pm   
  • NEW for 2022!
    Toughest North American Shorebird ID Challenges with Kevin Karlson
    April 21 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm   
  • It Begins with Warblers
    April 21 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm   
  • NEW for 2022!
    iNaturalist Workshop & Field Trip with Glenn Olsen
    April 22 @ 7:30 am – 11:30 am   
  • Birding by Ear
    April 22 @ 8:00 am – 11:00 am   
  • Shorebirds, Gulls & Terns of Galveston Island Workshop
    April 22 @ 10:45 am – 11:45 am   
  • Maximizing Your Birding Efficiency with Greg Miller
    April 22 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm   
  • NEW for 2022!
    Creating a Pollinator Paradise at Home
    2 different events
    #1 April 23 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
    #2 April 23 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
  • Gulls Simplified Workshop by Kevin Karlson
    April 23 @ 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
 

FeatherFest Photography Workshops

There are numerous learning opportunities for birding photography during FeatherFest in Galveston. Get tips from local experts and enhance and improve the beauty and timing of your birding photos. Get more details on FeatherFest Photography Field Trips or Photography Workshops.

FledglingFest for Kids

The deadline to register for the many wonderful FeatherFest events: April 17, 2022 6:00 PM.

Some events will sell out, so register early. See the events page here: FledglingFest

FeatherFest on Galveston Island: Registration

The deadline to register for the many wonderful FeatherFest events: April 17, 2022 6:00 PM.

Some events will sell out, so register early. Full registration details here.

Birding on Galveston Island

Be sure to download your copy of Great Galveston Birding Guide

Galveston Island is one of the top locations in the country for birding. It has a rich variety of habitats – beaches, wetlands, grasslands, woods, ponds, and bays – in a small area that are home to many common year-round species, as well as numerous others that visit briefly or for part of the year.

Birds visit en-route from and to Central and South America, north in the spring, south in the fall. Most pass through after stopping for food, water and rest, as very few spend their summers on the Island and breed locally. While Galveston is on the western edge of the Gulf of Mexico, it is in the epicenter of the spring migration, as trade winds bring them right to our doorstep.

The Island is also an important wintering ground for numerous species that spend most of the year farther north. More than 300 bird species may be seen throughout the year somewhere on the Island.

During FeatherFest, over 200 species are typical, such as common year-round birds, spring migrants and late wintering birds.

Galveston Designated Bird City Texas Community

Galveston has taken wing once again, earning designation as a Bird City Texas community! We’re one of three Texas cities to achieve the prestigious hallmark this year. Thank you to our dedicated team, partners and advisors who helped make this happen.

Bird City Texas is an initiative of Audubon Texas and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The community-focused certification program was created to help protect birds and their habitats where people live, work, and recreate.

Bird City Texas research shows that bird-friendly environments increase property values, help control insects and generate tourism dollars.

Full Press Release below

Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council Press Release

Galveston Certified as Bird City Texas Community
Designation Achievement Adds New Feather in Island’s Cap

Galveston is now certified as a Bird City Texas community, according to Audubon Texas and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, partners in the Bird City Texas Initiative. Galveston is one of three cities in the state to achieve Bird City designation this year, joined by San Antonio and Surfside Beach.

Bird City Texas is a community-focused certification program created to help protect birds and their habitats where people live, work, and recreate. The program’s research shows that bird-friendly environments increase property values, help control insects and generate tourism dollars.

“Galveston’s Bird City certification is a result of communitywide efforts to recognize the importance of bird conservation and lead the way through education, action and preservation,“ said Julie Ann Brown, Executive Director of the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council (GINTC).

The rigorous Bird City application process was a collaborative effort coordinated by GINTC’s Anna Deichmann. Team members included Sabrina Dean, Better Parks for Galveston president; Alice Anne O’Donell, local birding leader; Kyle O’Haver, Galveston Island State Park assistant superintendent; Martha Suiter, GINTC board member; Kristen Vale, American Bird Conservancy Texas coastal program coordinator; and Greg Whittaker, Moody Gardens animal husbandry manager and Houston Audubon president-elect.

Project partners and advisors included American Bird Conservancy; Dr. Anna Armitage; Artist Boat; City of Galveston; Denice Franke; Galveston Bay Foundation; Galveston.com; Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council; Galveston Island State Park; Galveston Island Tree Conservancy; Galveston Ornithological Society; Galveston Park Board of Trustees; GO Native Landscaping for Birds and Butterflies; Gulf Coast Bird Observatory; Houston Audubon; Laffites Cove Nature Society; Moody Gardens; Scenic Galveston; Texas Master Naturalist; UTMB Osher Lifelong Learning Institute; and Vision Galveston.

Bastrop, Dallas, Houston, and Port Aransas achieved Bird City certification in 2020. Bird City Texas certification lasts for three years.

GINTC presents Galveston FeatherFest Birding and Nature Photography Festival, Galveston Winter Nature Program, Sea Turtle Saturday, Holiday with the Cranes and numerous educational programs at the East End Lagoon Nature Preserve as part of its mission is to connect people with Galveston’s natural environment. For further information, visit GalvestonNatureTourism.org

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