Tomorrow – Wednesday, FEB. 7 – we open our 7th Laredo Birding Festival, which will run from Feb. 6-9.
This will be another record year for the Festival with more than 150 birders from all over the United States and Texas, and as far away as Canada and Brazil to bird our South Texas borderlands! We will also host three young birders from the United High School Birding Club.
Kicking off this year’s Festival will be a combined Laredo Birding Festival event at the Laredo Center for the Arts on Wednesday, FEB. 6:
1) Birds, Beer & Cheer Opening Mixer for birders and field guides – 5pm-6:30 pm (upstairs)
2) Opening Exhibit for our increasingly popular Birds of the Brush art contest – which has become Laredo’s largest art contest – 6:30-8:30 pm. (downstairs). The awards program starts promptly at 7 pm. This year we had nearly 360 submissions from students, private studios, and amateur and professional artists.
As word of Laredo’s uniqueness in the birding world continues to spread, more and more visitors are coming here to observe our spectacular array of birds, historic ranches, and prime birding spots along the Rio Grande and its biodiverse vega.
Hundreds of species of birds— including our prized Morelet’s Seedeater— live here or visit us during the spring and winter migrations.
This past December, surprise visits from the Blue Mockingbird, Blue Bunting, and Golden-Crowned Warbler – rare birds that are almost never seen or recorded in Laredo – elevated our city’s profile nationally.
“The Rio Grande corridor between Laredo and Brownsville is considered the birdiest corridor in North America,” said Tricia Cortez, RGISC executive director. “Birders, both novice and advanced, want to check off as many birds from their Life List as possible and the Laredo Birding Festival will let them check off nearly 200 species in just a few days.”
Raul Delgado, member of the Monte Mucho Audubon Society (MMAS), agreed.
“Laredo remains under-birded so the chance of a thrilling new bird discovery is high,” Delgado said. “More boots on the ground, especially from experienced birders, gives us a wider range of data collection in such a short period of time, and in a wide swath of area that surrounds Laredo.”
During the multi-day Festival, birders choose from one of a dozen carefully crafted trips. Professional field guides from across Texas and local birders taken them on day-long trips along the river, creeks, nature trails, parks, and more importantly, nearly 20 ranches that give birders the chance to experience the natural world on hundreds of thousands of acres of South Texas ranchland.
“We wouldn’t be where we’re at if it weren’t for birder friendly ranches,” Delgado said. “Their support has given us opportunities to go to private properties which has been the key to our success.”
The Laredo Birding Festival is a collaboration among the MMAS, Rio Grande International Study Center (RGISC) and Laredo Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB).
Trips will take place Thursday through Saturday (Feb. 7-9) with most trips departing between 5:30 am and 7 am.
Festival headquarters will be La Posada Hotel.