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Top 5 birding festivals for summer 2014

Watch for young birds just leaving the nest in summer, like this American Robin in St. George, Utah.
Watch for young birds just leaving the nest in summer, like this American Robin in St. George, Utah.
Marc Mayntz

After spring migration, birds become more secretive as they raise their families, and summer can seem like a slow birding time. Summer birding, however, can be just as brilliant as any other season for birders who know how to take advantage of great summer opportunities. These top festivals are just a few of the events that highlight local and regional birds for hot summer birding.

It's Your Tern Festival
Where and When: June 22 at Governors Island, New York

Great birds can be seen anywhere if birders know where to look, even in one of the world's largest cities. Governors Island in Manhattan is home to a nesting colony of common terns, and festival attendees can enjoy boat trips and other tours to see the birds, as well as live music and activities for all ages.

Quietside Flamingo Festival
Where and When: July 11-14 in Southwest Harbor, Maine

While not strictly a birding festival, the fun and funky flamingo theme of this quirky event celebrates birds all the same. A carnival, lobster bake, art displays, craft fair, and other events are part of the festival, and visitors will enjoy a great number of pink feathered guests on display throughout the community.

Southwest Wings
Where and When: July 30-August 2 in Sierra Vista, Arizona

One of the longest running birding festivals in the western United States, the Southwest Wings festival has been celebrating desert birds for more than 20 years. More than 40 field trips are on the agenda, as well as owl prowls, bat walks, gardening instruction, dragonfly identification and other great activities.

Autumn Wings Festival
Where and When: August 15 in Anchorage, Alaska

Though just a single day event, this festival highlights the onset of fall migration in the far north. A bird calling contest and live raptor ambassadors are part of the festivities, as well as the release of a rehabilitated bird of prey (conditions permitting).

Mississippi River Nature Weekend
Where and When: August 22-24 in Vicksburg, Mississippi

Southern birding is fantastic during the summer, and visitors can enjoy southern hospitality at its best during this Mississippi festival. Sunset birding walks, kayak tours, live music, hot air balloon rides, and educational seminars are all part of the event.

Are none of these festivals quite right for your summer birding plans? There are more than 35 birding events planned during June, July, and August, so check out these comprehensive directories to find the best event for your summer!

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