While a depressing number of birding festivals have been canceled this year, don’t despair—there are several virtual birding festivals occurring this fall that you won’t want to miss. We know of four scheduled in September—including the Puget Sound Bird Fest this weekend!—and another four in October. Check out these links, and register for one today!
I was admittedly initially a bit skeptical about whether the virtual festival experience would even come close to filling that void in my world, but I have attended two now (the New River Birding & Nature Festival and the Southeast Arizona Birding Festival), and both were truly fun and satisfying experiences! The organizers for both found creative ways to retain the vibe that is unique to their festival when attending in person, and they helped me feel connected to the birds and birders I have been missing from my usually busy travel schedule. No, it’s not the same as being there, but it’s the next best thing—and even allows me to armchair travel to places I would not have gone otherwise (but now want to go see for myself someday)!
In addition to these larger birding festivals, my Facebook newsfeed seems to be saturated with opportunities to go on virtual bird walks, attend virtual bird talks, and interact with panels of naturalists of diverse backgrounds speaking on any number of environmental topics. I suspect this is the case where you live, too—you just need to tap into your local bird club or Audubon or metro park system or other nature-based organizations and check out their upcoming events. The hardest part is figuring out which ones to attend since there are so many to choose from! (If I didn’t have four children and a job, I’d attend them all!)
We’d love to hear from you about your virtual festival experiences, and also if you know of any upcoming festivals that aren’t listed here—drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
About the Author
Jessica Melfi is Assistant Editor for Bird Watcher's Digest and Watching Backyard Birds. She is the mother of four young birders and lives in Columbus, Ohio.