Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, Nov. 6-10, 2013

The famed Rio Grande Valley, at the southernmost tip of Texas, boasts the largest concentration of tropical birds in the U.S. Its diverse habitats are home to birds and wildlife seldom seen in one place, and the area is well known to birders around the world. If you’ve never been there, it might be hard to know where to begin to see it all. Fortunately for you and me, the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival (RGVBF) puts it all together for us.

Now in its 20th year, the RGVBF is known for its down-home, friendly feel. Started by a group of dedicated volunteers in 1994, this 5-day event is a well-oiled machine, but has never lost its sense of community. I’m lucky enough to be attending for my third year with Eagle Optics. My coworkers are always buzzing about RGVBF, and after my inaugural trip in 2011, I understand why. Everyone who attends is made to feel like family. So, knowing RGVBF is approaching quickly, I’m eagerly anticipating some more of that Texas hospitality, meeting more new friends, and seeing more amazing birds. Sound good to you, too?  Check out registration info here.413463_10150668010308847_59781802_o

The host city, Harlingen, sits between the Laguna Atascosa and Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuges, and is the perfect stepping-off point for the numerous field trips available to attendees. But, good luck making your choices! The myriad of offerings include bird and raptor banding, butterfly viewing, birding by river pontoon, shorebird ID, a quest for parrots, (whew!) and more. Choose from trips to Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park and World Birding Center, King Ranch, South Padre Island, and the numerous nearby preserves and sanctuaries. There are also pre-festival and post-festival trips planned to make the most of your visit. While some trips have limited space due to a surge in registrations, there is still good availability left. Time to make your decision, folks. You don't want to miss this opportunity! 420615_10151531999843847_1665494969_n

You’re probably getting the idea of the depth of activities on the docket. Find yourself engaged in one of the many seminars. Sit in on the Big Sit or ride along in a chase van! Study shorebirds, learn birding by ear,  and discover the rare seedeater or Aplomado Falcon.  Shop for optics, books (The Warbler Guide authors will be there!), and related products.  Attend the gracious receptions and have your books signed: (Friday night's keynote is artist and author David Allen Sibley). You’ll be walking with, listening to, and learning from the leading experts in birding. Because the 20th year is so special, RGBF welcomes well-known birding celebrities Kenn Kaufman, Victor Emanuel,  Jon Dunn, and ABA Prez Jeff Gordon!

No matter what your level of expertise, there are field trips, events, and seminars for everyone at RGVBF. That includes beginner to advanced birders, butterfliers, Spanish speakers, artists, and children.  Also, you won't want to miss RGVBF's famous tv-style Quiz Show on Saturday night!  The organizers have made sure that the welcome mat is wide and welcoming, and the excitement is palpable from beginning to end.

Come to south Texas! Enjoy the Rio Grande Valley and its hosts, and bring your Life List. You’ll be sure to create memories that will last for years to come. See you there!

Nina Cheney
Eagle Optics Staff
Binoculars: Bring them. See what they bring you.


  1. sounds interesting. please say how much would the total cost be?

  2. Hi Gene,
    The price would depend upon what field trips and other activities you sign up for. Check the links I included in the article. If you need assistance, call or e-mail the RGVBF folks: Email: info@rgvbf.org / Phone: 1.209.22RGVBF
    All the best,

  3. The RGVBF is the greatest place for all birders. After attending twice, still cannot get enough of this area for birds only seen in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Green Jays just stand out all over. Hospitality in this valley is outstanding everywhere you go.
    A must for any birder of any age. Keep going.


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