The Florida Birding and Nature Festival occurs right in the middle of migration, giving us great views of birds.

By Keiko Moral

The anticipated Florida Birding and Nature Festival, a four-day event, is set to captivate enthusiasts and nature lovers alike with its rich array of outdoor pursuits and seminars. Held from Thursday to Sunday, October 12-15 at the scenic Suncoast Youth Conservation Center, located at 6650 Dickman Rd. in Apollo Beach, the festival coincides with the peak of the fall migration of birds through Central Florida.

Promising an immersive experience in the diverse avian and wilderness treasures of the Sunshine State, this year’s festival has already observed more than 180 species of birds during previous gatherings. Participants can anticipate an all-encompassing celebration of wildlife through an enticing selection of activities, thought-provoking lectures by esteemed experts and engaging presentations by nationally renowned keynote speakers.

“We run this festival to highlight the special natural areas of the region the management needs of the preserves, the wildlife and birds that live or migrate through here and the economic values of these natural resources,” stated Anna Paul, festival planner.

Guided by seasoned experts and, in some cases, managers of the nature habitats themselves, the meticulously crafted field trips offer unique opportunities to explore various captivating locations. Noteworthy destinations include the enchanting Egmont Key, the unspoiled Cross Bar Ranch in Spring Hill, Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve, Alafia River Corridor South Nature Preserve and the captivating Rock Ponds Ecosystem Restoration Project.

Due to limited availability, early registration is highly recommended to secure a place on these exclusive trips. Distinguished naturalist, wildlife photographer and writer Stan Tekiela will deliver the keynote address on Friday. On Saturday, David Johnson, the esteemed director of the Global Owl Project, will unveil the intriguing world of owls during his keynote presentation. Both keynote addresses will be accompanied by buffets, offering a culinary complement.

Beyond the field trips and keynote presentations, the festival boasts a comprehensive program of in-person and Zoom-broadcast seminars expertly led by authorities in their respective fields. Topics of exploration encompass the ‘Secrets of Sandhills,’ the allure of ‘Why Snakes Are Cool’ and more.

Complementing the festival’s intellectual and exploratory pursuits, a free Nature Expo awaits participants on Friday, October 13 and Saturday, October 14 at the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center.

With anticipation building for this event, wildlife aficionados are encouraged to secure their participation in the Florida Birding and Nature Festival by visiting the official website at

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