Rio Grande Valley Bird Festival Bucket List

Find out why Harlingen, Texas is a major birding hotspot and why the bird world is abuzz over this festival.


I’ve never been birding in Texas before, and there’s a lot I want to do and see when I attend the Rio Grande Valley Bird Festival this November (festival registration is open now!). The area is home to a whole new world of birds, full of birds that cross the border from Mexico, that this Wisconsin girl has never seen before. So here is my RGVBF bucket list.

1. Talk to new birders. I’m lucky enough to be able to participate in a Get Started Birding talk with some amazing bird pros. We’re going to talk about how to use field guides, how to use binoculars, share bird ID tips and discuss the dos and don’ts of birding in the field. This is a free talk, so anyone is welcome, so come freshen up on the basics of bird-watching.

2. Identify 10 new birds myself. The birds in southern Texas are very unlike the birds I see here in the Midwest. And truth be told, a lot of them come from Mexico, so we rarely cover them in the magazine. I’m going to study up and aim to able to identify 10 new birds all on my own.

3. See a buff-bellied hummingbird. With a very limited range, this hummingbird reaches the southern tip of Texas. Although more commonly seen in summer, there’s a tiny possibility I’ll catch a glimpse of this gem at the festival. 

4. Meet up with Rob Ripma. You all know Rob, our bird blogger. He’s going to be there, too, and he’s so fun to bird with. Plus, he’ll be spending the whole week there and can steer me in the directions of the best places to go birding.

5. See a green jay and an Altamira oriole. These birds are so colorful! There are plenty more birds I want to see during my trip. Others include a plain chachalaca, white-tailed hawk and green kingfisher!

Festival details: Rio Grande Valley Bird Festival, Harlingen, Texas, November 5-9, 2014

Registration is currently open, so get signed up if you’re able to attend this fantastic festival! I’ll see you there!

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