Date: Second weekend in November annually; November 11-15, 2020
Location: The heart of the Rio Grande Valley: Harlingen, TX
Summary: This festival has it all. First and foremost, the birding is phenomenal. Not only are there exciting speciality species (think Green Jay, Altamira Oriole, Common Paruaque, Least Grebe, Aplomado Falcon, and so many more), but this is also one of the best places in the US to find rarer ABA birds—you truly never know what you’re going to see. Beyond the birds, the festival is extremely well-organized. Now in its 27th year, RGVBF combines field trips of every type and intensity, top-notch guides and speakers, and lots of special events throughout the week.
My involvement: I attend the festival as a vendor for Nighthawk. I can’t wait to return this year!
Fun fact: My favorite thing about this festival is the strong community vibe that is felt so constantly while you’re there. Part of that comes from the excellent organization of the festival itself, and part of it is because the people of the Rio Grande Valley care so deeply about preserving their natural resources. Harlingen’s Convention and Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce are huge supporters of the festival and conservation in the area, birders are welcomed everywhere you go, and the local guides integrate heart and soul of the city into their field trips and activities. You feel like you’re at home among friends the entire time you’re there.