There are many great birding events that take advantage of fall migration in September, before autumn temperatures fall too low, days get too short, or too many birds have already fled to southern wintering ranges. These top festivals offer a wide range of activities for all ages, as well as opportunities to see a greater number of bird species or expand your birding skills.
When and Where: September 12-15 in Rockport, Texas
This hummingbird party celebrates the migration of ruby-throated hummingbirds through Texas, but it’s about more than just hummingbirds. In addition to hummingbird viewing opportunities and hummingbird banding demonstrations, identification workshops are held for confusing fall warblers and migrating raptors and shorebirds. Bird boating trips are also on the schedule for this twenty-fifth anniversary event.
Monterey Bay Birding Festival
When and Where: September 12-15 in Watsonville, California
Four different pelagic bird trips are just one highlight of this event, and birders also have the opportunity to choose field trips that seek out California specialty birds, including the endangered California condor. Owling trips, pontoon trips, birding by kayak, a photo contest, puppet shows, and arts and crafts are all part of this outstanding festival.
Whooping Crane Festival
When and Where: September 13-15 in Berlin, Wisconsin
Craniacs can’t do better than the Whooping Crane Festival and the unique opportunity not only to see endangered whooping cranes in the wild, but also to witness the training of this year’s “class” of young cranes as they prepare for migration behind specialized aircraft. Other events include keynote speakers, a silent auction, and a dedicated tour of the International Crane Foundation.
Midwest Birding Symposium
When and Where: September 19-22 in Lakeside, Ohio
Only held in odd-numbered years, the “World’s Friendliest Birding Event” is not to be missed. While there are few dedicated field trips – each morning includes casual birding time and suggested hotspots instead – the informational breakout sessions focusing on identification, bird behavior, and refining birding skills are a great opportunity for birders of all experience levels. A 3K fun run, sunset cruise, Lake Erie pelagic trip, and raffle are other events at the symposium.
Florida Keys Birding & Wildlife Festival
When and Where: September 24-29 in Marathon, Florida
Events for this south Florida birding festival actually occur throughout the Keys and include a focus not just on birds, but also on all local wildlife and ecology. Snorkeling, astronomy sessions, and tropical plant tours are part of the events, as are raptor and shorebird identification sessions, birding in the Everglades, butterfly tours, and a special all day trip to Dry Tortugas National Park.
Not seeing the perfect festival for you? Check out this comprehensive directory of all birding festivals in September to find one that works for you!