Palm Coast - Registration is now open for the City of Palm Coast's 5th annual Birds of a Feather Fest set for Feb. 7-10 - offering more days than ever to connect with nature and enjoy birding in Northeast Florida's natural habitats.
Participants will enjoy four days of expertly guided birding trips, photography workshops, speakers, social events, and family activities. With a focus on both beginners and experienced birders, the festival offers something for everyone.
There is no cost to register, however, some trips do have a fee. A full schedule is available at www.birdingfest.com, and it's easy to register through the website. The headquarters for this year's event will be Palm Coast Community Center, 305 Palm Coast Pkwy. NE. A short video about the 2019 Birds of a Feather Fest is at https://youtu.be/srKD0jIok84.
National Audubon Society Chief Network Officer David Ringer will give this year's free keynote lecture, "Protecting Birds Together, Today and Tomorrow," at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8. Ringer oversees Audubon's vast national network of Audubon chapters and nature centers, and he leads Audubon's Bird-Friendly Communities program, which engages people in practical solutions to protect birds and special places and to make communities healthier for people. Ringer has held several positions with Audubon and was its public relations manager in Louisiana during the BP oil disaster.
The four-day festival lineup features 22 trips, including "big trips" to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Sweetwater Wetlands, Orlando Wetlands Park, Circle B Bar Reserve and Ocala National Forest. Transportation and lunch will be provided on many trips. There are also local trips available in Flagler County, including free beginner bird walks every two hours on Saturday.
In addition to the trips, new classes are being offered Friday and Saturday, Feb. 8 and 9, on topics such as photography, the environment and how it impacts birds and other wildlife, how to plan a successful birding trip, and how to identify bird species. Many of the classes are free, and open to all ages, but participants must register at www.birdingfest.com.
"One of the coolest things about Birds of a Feather Fest is that we're really a regional festival," said Event Coordinator Jason Giraulo, a birder who is the City's Digital Communications Coordinator. "Palm Coast has great birding, but when you include the surrounding areas, you're looking at some of the very best birding in the state. Combine that with our expert guides, and you're sure to see some amazing birds."
Each of the festival's trips will be guided by experts to maximize the number of species seen and heard by participants. Everyone will have a chance to "Meet the Experts" at a reception Saturday evening, Feb. 9, at the Community Center. Enjoy some tasty treats, meet the fantastic guides, and mingle with fellow birders. The Meet the Experts reception will be 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. It is free to attend, but please register in advance.
On Thursday, join legendary birders Greg Miller and David and Dee Simpson on a fantastic journey to the Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland. On the trails, you're likely to see Bald Eagles, White and Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbills, Sandhill Cranes and much more. On Friday, the Simpsons will lead the trip to the Ocala National Forest, where birders will search for the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker, and may also see Florida Scrub Jay, Bachman's Sparrow, Bald Eagle, American Kestrel and more.
Saturday, guides Miller and David Hartgrove will navigate birders through the Sweetwater Wetlands offering views of lush greenery and wildlife including various birds, butterflies, alligators and even wild horses. Sunday's big trip to Merritt Island, led by Miller, is a hotspot for birders around the world as it features more than 330 species, including the thousands of migratory birds that use the refuge as a temporary spot for the winter season.
All of the festival's birding trips will have guides; visit www.birdingfest.com to see the full schedule and more information on all of the guides.
The Birds of a Feather Fest is sponsored by Florida Power & Light, the Palm Coast Observer and Wild Birds Unlimited.
For more information, contact Giraulo at 386-986-2484 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Palm Coast, Florida - located off I-95 and nested between Daytona Beach and St. Augustine - is a short drive from the metro areas of Jacksonville or Orlando.