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Birding Festival Attracts Record Crowds

You too can discover one of life’s simple pleasures

Johnathan Wood’s RAPTOR Birds of Prey exhibit is always a popular attraction (the bird is an Artic Gyrfalkon). Photos: Bill Keltner/LFN

Bill Keltner

The thrill of discovering a rare bird in its natural habitat is attracting more and more enthusiastic birders to the Valley every year. For birders, it’s akin to discovering a new planet in the universe or scaling Mount Everest.

Hundreds of these enthusiastic hobbyists arrived for the 24th Annual International Birding Festival held in Harlingen each year.

They came from 42 of the United States and 8 foreign countries. Tamie Bulow, Registrar for the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, said visitors came from Uganda, Japan, Holland, The United Kingdom,, France, Germany, Mexico and other countries. Bulow said there were over 600 birders already registered before the event even got underway.

She said, “We needed 100 field-trip leaders, 200 vendors and 100 volunteers to make it the success it was,” adding, “that converts into over 1000 people involved. The fact is that these bird lovers have made the Valley a big-time, multi-million dollar industry and a growing, tourist magnet. It has been estimated that over one-million Dollars is generated for the local economy in just the week of the Festival!”

Tamie Bulow, Registrar, and Phil Nelson, Board Member of the Birding Festival.

The Harlingen Municipal Auditorium served again as the venue for the well-programmed displays, nature lectures and birding excursions. The veteran and neophyte birders were also exposed to the vendors and their displays of the latest electronic and optical telescopes and high-powered binoculars, and other birding-related items that enhance the growing hobby–there was something for everybody.” She added: “We really appreciate the willing attitude and volunteer support by one group especially–our Winter Texas: We owe them a word of gratitude.”

Now the question: Just who are these birder people? What LA FERIA NEWS learned about this fascinating, pleasurable addiction might just open up a whole new world of interest for you and your family. Who knows, you just might become a birder yourself.

Birder from Uganda signs in for Birding Festival.

What kind of people are they? There are all kinds and varieties of bird watchers, and just as many styles–from passionate, intense souls loaded up with the latest technology looking for another entry in their logbook, to the casual, “laid-back” types enjoying the outdoors with scarcely little knowledge about our winged, feathered friends in the sky or in our backyards. “It will open up a whole new world for you,” said one visiting birder. “You’ll see God’s creation in a whole new way.”

We are living in a bird watchers paradise—If you missed this year’s Rio Grande Birding Festival, watch for next year’s event in November. So, partner, if you haven’t been bitten by the birding bug so far, you might want to give it some thought, but be warned, it is contagious.

If you would like more information about birding, you are invited to visit the RIO GRANDE VALLEY BIRDING FESTIVAL.

Exhibition of telescopes for advanced birders.

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