Visitors are invited to witness the magnificence of the Florida Keys’ spectacular fall bird migration during the 15th annual Florida Keys Birding and Wildlife Festival set for Tuesday, Sept. 24, through Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013.
The six-day festival includes a variety of activities from Key Largo to Key West. Signature events include an excursion to Dry Tortugas National Park, guided birding and butterfly walks and talks, wildlife photography workshops, a free all-day wildlife fair, citizen science with Florida Keys Hawkwatch and boat trips into the backcountry.
This year’s keynote speaker, Rafael Galvez, is the director of the Florida Keys Hawkwatch, the southernmost migration monitoring project in the continental United States. Florida Keys Hawkwatch documents as many as 25,000 diurnal birds of prey of 18 species during the fall, and more than 120 species of waders, shorebirds and songbirds migrating over the Keys.
Festival-goers are encouraged to join the Hawkwatch at Curry Hammock State Park, as well as join Galvez on numerous guided bird walks and two evening presentations.
A talented illustrator, Galvez has also participated in conservation and education projects in Florida, Latin America and Eurasia. He is a member of the Miami-based Tropical Audubon Society board of directors, for which he focuses on Everglades conservation issues, and is the publisher of the organization’s print publication.
In addition to migrating hawks and falcons, festival-goers will witness migrating songbirds, rare endemic bird and wildlife species and the beautiful tropical habitats of the Florida Keys.
This behind-the-scenes tour of the wild places of the Florida Keys will be an adventure participants won’t soon forget.
Guided by birding, butterfly and photography experts from throughout South Florida, participants will explore many Keys natural gems, including the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden, the National Key Deer Refuge, the waters of the Upper Keys backcountry and half a dozen state parks.
On Sunday, Sept. 29, Key West birding guide Mark Hedden and South Florida photographers Dick Fortune and Sara Lopez will lead two groups on a daylong trip via ferry to Dry Tortugas National Park, a favored bird stopover 70 miles out from Key West.
For the full festival schedule and registration details, visit www.keysbirdingfest.org. Advance registration is required for many of the events because of limits on the number of participants.
The Florida Keys Birding & Wildlife Festival is sponsored in part by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.
For more information about the event or registration, contact Kristie Killam at 305-304-9625 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.