Of course, the birds have always flocked to the Valley, particularly in the winter. However, getting birders to come to the region was a bit more of a challenge. In the early 1990s, in an effort to attract more birders, the Rio Grande Birding Festival was formed. The event was wildly successful and today is one of the largest and most informative birding festivals in the country.
Based in Harlingen, the RGV Birding Festival features a variety of seminars and field trips each year. The 2014 edition, which is scheduled to run Nov. 5-9, will feature seminars on hummingbirds, parrots of the Rio Grande Valley, shorebird identification and more. Fees for seminars range from $5 to $7.
Among the field trips set for this year’s event are a canoe trip down the Rio Grande, and a cruise on the Arroyo Colorado. Field trips to Brownsville, South Padre Island, Weslaco, the Santa Anna National Wildlife Refuge, San Ygnacio and Zapata are also on the docket. A trade show will also be held during the course of the festival.