By Brittany Wallace
In the fall, the migration begins as birds begin to move south joining the birds which permanently reside in the Tampa Bay area. Locals can take time to enjoy learning about and watching these beautiful birds at The Florida Birding and Nature Festival. In its second year, it will take place Friday to Sunday, October 13 to 15.
Last year the Festival brought in over 300 visitors from all over North America including Canada. It is predicted that more people will attend this year. This large number of people can be attributed to the field trips, expos with speakers and children activities.
According to Mary Keith, President of Tampa Audubon Society, “People come all over the world to go birding here, so why not celebrate it and bring everyone together, where locals can show you where these birds are.”
Twenty field trips will take place all over the Tampa Bay area. Those new to birding might enjoy Beginning Birding at Lettuce Lake Park. There will be field trips for photographers such as the Lettuce Lake Regional Park Photography Workshop. Field trips are all about fun, seeing a lot of different birds and learning about preservation and conservation lands where the trips take place. The field trips range from $30 to $65. Some of the trips include boat rides and wagon rides. The field trips are not just about birds. There are opportunities to see other animals, and there are also field trips dedicated to insects such as dragonflies and butterflies. To learn more about these field trips and register for its limited spaces, visit www.floridabirdingandnaturefestival.org/FieldTrips.html. All the seminars take place at Hillsborough Community College South Shore campus offering many subjects such as preservation, different habitats, nature photography, and bird feeding. Eagle Optics, one of the largest vendors of binoculars and spotting scopes in the country, will be in attendance at the Expo. Keith said, “Their representatives are just great at working with someone to determine what size, shape, weight and price range they need for binoculars.”
Children’s activities will also take place at the Hillsborough Community College South Shore campus on Saturday, October 14. Morning activities will cater to Pre K through second graders, and afternoon activities will be for third to sixth graders. Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.