Virtual Birding Fesitival - Nov 11-13, 2020

GET READY FOR THE 27TH ANNUAL RIO GRANDE VALLEY BIRDING FESTIVAL!

Put the dates of Nov 10 – 14, 2021 on your calendar for the upcoming Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival. And you might want to have some extra days before or after to continue adding birds to your list, your memory card or just your memory. The Valley is always full of colorful birds, friendly people, and plenty of birders. Throw in a few tacos here and there, and you have a Fiesta!

The Festival will offer over 120 field trips for the five days, keynote speakers, afternoon presentations, a rousing trade show (called Birders Bazaar), a whopping silent auction, a souvenir booth, and the fabulous art and photographs from local students. Come reunite with birders from across the country – seeing old friends and making new ones. Be sure to plan your trip to arrive on Tuesday to attend the Welcome Reception Tuesday evening. Music, noshes and sips!

Watch for our website to populate with 2021 information in the late spring/early summer, meanwhile you can browse last year’s info to get a feel for our Festival. Online registration will open around August 1st and go for at least 10 weeks. While everyone who participates pays a registration fee, you have the option of purchasing a Kiskadee Pass (an all-event pass that gets you into the talks) during online registration for a savings or buying tickets separately at the door. All field trips are priced according to entry fees/vehicles used/# guides allotted.

If you have questions, feel free to call the Registration Office at 209.227.4823.

Frequently Asked Questions

WHEN IS THE FESTIVAL?

The 2021 Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival is Nov 10-14.  Registration Packet Pick-up will be on Tuesday, Nov 9th from 12 noon to 5 PM.  Be sure to pick up your credentials at the Harlingen Convention Center at that time OR prior to your first field trip!  If you are delayed and miss the that time slot, arrive 30 minutes before your field trip departs for pick-up of your credentials and welcome packet.  Daylight savings time ends the weekend prior, so hopefully your biological clock will have adjusted before we begin those early morning field trips!

HOW DO I GET THERE?

Harlingen is located in the southern tip of Texas, about 30 miles west of the Gulf of Mexico and 15 miles north of the Rio Grande River. We are further south than one-third of Mexico, and therefore our rich bird diversity. Harlingen is a city of about 75,000 people and is the fourth largest city in the Rio Grande Valley. It offers a convenient airport, motels/hotels, restaurants, fast-food drive thru’s, national pharmacy chains, Wal-Mart & Target, a Travel Information Center, Bass Pro Shop, three HEB Grocery stores, and a mall, should you have forgotten anything.

Harlingen by air: Fly into Harlingen’s Valley International Airport (HRL). It is serviced by Delta, United, Southwest and Frontier (non-stops from Denver or Chicago), and seasonally by Sun Country Airlines (Nov-Apr). Most flights connect through Houston (IAH or HOU) or Dallas (DFW or DAL). With only 8 gates, the airport offers a very pleasant experience to fly in and out. Rental cars are available on site, and reservations are required.

Harlingen by car: Harlingen is located at the confluence of the new I-2 & I-69E (locally, US Hwy 83 & 77 respectively). It is a two-hour drive south of Corpus Christi and a four-hour drive south of San Antonio. You don’t want to know how long it takes to drive to El Paso, and yes, you are still in Texas.

HOW DO I GET THERE?

Harlingen is located in the southern tip of Texas, about 30 miles west of the Gulf of Mexico and 15 miles north of the Rio Grande River. We are further south than one-third of Mexico, and therefore our rich bird diversity. Harlingen is a city of about 75,000 people and is the fourth largest city in the Rio Grande Valley. It offers a convenient airport, motels/hotels, restaurants, fast-food drive thru’s, national pharmacy chains, Wal-Mart & Target, a Travel Information Center, Bass Pro Shop, three HEB Grocery stores, and a mall, should you have forgotten anything.

Harlingen by air: Fly into Harlingen’s Valley International Airport (HRL). It is serviced by Delta, United, Southwest and Frontier (non-stops from Denver or Chicago), and seasonally by Sun Country Airlines (Nov-Apr). Most flights connect through Houston (IAH or HOU) or Dallas (DFW or DAL). With only 8 gates, the airport offers a very pleasant experience to fly in and out. Rental cars are available on site, and reservations are required.

Harlingen by car: Harlingen is located at the confluence of the new I-2 & I-69E (locally, US Hwy 83 & 77 respectively). It is a two-hour drive south of Corpus Christi and a four-hour drive south of San Antonio. You don’t want to know how long it takes to drive to El Paso, and yes, you are still in Texas.

WONDERING WHICH FIELD TRIPS ARE RIGHT FOR YOU?

WHAT FIELD TRIPS ARE RIGHT FOR ME?

++ Border Patrol Checkpoint requires identification

BEGINNER – Beginners are always welcome on all trips. Some sites are easier for new birders to spot birds and enjoy their trip.

Bentsen SP
Breakfast with the Birds at Chachalaca Bend
Easy (But Not Less!)
Edinburg & Quinta Mazatlán
Estero Llano Grande Grand Tour
McAllen Nature Center & San Juan Wetlands
Parrots of the Area
Raptor Banding
Resaca de la Palma SP
River Pontoon & Anzalduas
Santa Ana NWR
Songbird Banding
South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center
Weslaco’s Urban Oases

CUSTOM – specific audience

Accessible Birding (wheelchairs/scooters)
Big Day Vans (listers, Texas Century Club)
Butterflies
PhotoTrack (photography opportunities)
Where Locals Bird (listers, Texas Century Club)
Young Birders (age 12-20)

EASIER – For those who prefer less walking

Breakfast with the Birds at Chachalaca Bend
Butterflies
Colley’s “Private” Island
Easy (But Not Less!)
Edinburg & Quinta Mazatlán
Laguna Atascosa Lakeside Drive
Old Port Isabel Road
Parrots of the Area
McAllen Nature Center & San Juan Wetlands
Raptor Banding
River Pontoon & Anzalduas
Songbird Banding
South Padre Island & Bay Cruise
Weslaco’s Urban Oases

FAMILY – Families are welcome on any trip, and the following would be a special experience

Birding in the Digital Age
Butterflies
Colley’s “Private” Island
Edinburg & Quinta Mazatlán
McAllen Nature Center & San Juan Wetlands
Parrots of the Area
Raptor Banding
Resaca de la Palma SP
River Pontoon & Anzalduas
Songbird Banding
South Padre Island & Bay Cruise
South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center

CLASSICS – First trip to the Valley? Here are the famous not-to-be-missed sites

Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park

Estero Llano Grande Grand Tour
King Ranch
Laguna Atascosa Lakeside Drive
Sabal Palm Sanctuary
Santa Ana NWR
South Padre Island & Bay Cruise
Upper Rio Grande

BEEN BEFORE – Interesting choices beyond the famous parks

Arroyo Colorado Unit
Audubon Islands
Bahia Grande
Battlefields & Birds with Jon Dunn
Big Day Vans
Biking for Birds
Birding in the Digital Age
Boca Chica Road++
Breakfast with the Birds at Chachalaca Bend
Butterflies
Colley’s “Private” Island
eBird Tips and Tricks
Kleberg County Romp ++
Las Estrellas & Rancho Lomitas
Learning Sparrows
Learning to Listen
Old Port Isabel Road
Ornithology & More
Port Mansfield
Raptor Banding
River Pontoon & Anzalduas
Santa Margarita Bluffs
Shorebird ID Field Workshop
Songbird Banding
Southmost Preserve
Valley Raptors
Where the Locals Bird

HOW DO I BECOME A VOLUNTEER?

Volunteers are the bread-and-butter of our Festival. We need volunteers for parking cars, putting supplies on outgoing vehicles, sending out buses, posting and changing out signs, receiving vendors, welcoming returning buses and scouting for lost & found on the vehicles, retrieving supplies off returning vans, restocking of depleted items & inventories, checking out operating supplies, assistance in auditorium during presentations, guide room assistance, stuffing badge holders & alphabetizing, stuffing goodie bags, folding t-shirts, office assistance (computer skills preferred), rovers within the building (attention to needs), and so on. If you have a skill, we can probably use it!

Leave Cristela Wise a voicemail at (956) 873-3167, send an email to volunteers@rgvbf.org or fill this <Volunteer form> to offer your services. Shifts range from 3 hours to as long as you can last. Only happy people need apply!

WHERE DO I STAY?

Harlingen offers a wide variety of hotel properties and rates to accommodate every visitor. For a printable version of Festival-friendly recommendations and preferred rates, click here.

For a Harlingen Visitors Guide, go to visitharlingentexas.com or call the Harlingen Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 531-7346.

Once in Harlingen, stop by the Harlingen Chamber of Commerce (311 E Tyler Street) or the Texas Travel Information Center (2021 W Harrison, at the junction of I-2 and I-69E underpass) for brochures on local and Valley-wide attractions.

We strongly suggest you stay in Harlingen, as trip departures are EARLY, and buses do not wait for tardy birders!

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

Request additional information at registration@rgvbf.org, or call 209-227-4823. For registration questions, call 956-423-5565. Be sure to leave name and phone number clearly should you need to leave a message. A brochure can be downloaded from the website, or mailed to you. Email your request to registration@rgvbf.org, and include complete name, mailing address and phone number. A printed brochure will be included in every registrant’s packet once you arrive at the Convention Center.

For additional information: call (209) 227-4823 or email info@rgvbf.org.
For registration questions: call (956) 423-5565 or email registration@rgvbf.org.
For mailing: RGVBF,  PO Box 3162, Harlingen, TX  78551.
Office location:  Chamber of Commerce Building, 311 E Tyler Ave, Harlingen, TX 78550.

HOW DO I GET AROUND?

The Festival does not provide shuttle service between the airport, hotels, restaurants or Festival activities. Some of the hotels may provide limited shuttle service to and from the airport, but in order to best experience the Festival and our unique area, we strongly encourage renting a car. While your mornings are spent on field trips, the afternoons are your opportunity to wander, chase and explore.

IS THE RIO GRANDE VALLEY SAFE?

In a word, YES!!  The Rio Grande Valley continues to grow but we still have a small town feel.  A recent study ranking the nation’s cities using FBI crime statistics and crime types and trends, SafeHome.org listed Harlingen, Brownsville, McAllen, Edinburg and Mission in the top 60 safest places to live in Texas with populations above 50,000.  Interested in learning more, go to www.safehome.org/safest-cities/tx/

HOW DO I BECOME A VENDOR?

The Birders Bazaar runs Thursday through Sunday (Nov. 7– 10, noon to 6 pm/4 pm on Sunday), and vendors must commit to stay for the entire show – early take-downs may not be invited to return. Contact Marilyn Vincent at tradeshow@rgvbf.org to become a vendor.  Priority is given to vendor attendees from the 2018 Festival in the spring of 2019, then open booths are released to new vendors on June 1. Your application is time-stamped, so early responders have the best opportunity. Any reserved booths not paid by September 1 will also be released to new vendors.

Standard Commercial Booth – $250.  8×10 booth, with one skirted 6’ table, 2 chairs, draped back and side walls, and a one-line business ID booth sign.  Free WiFi.

Standard Non-profit Booth – $175.  8×10 booth, one skirted 6’ table, 2 chairs, draped back and side walls, with a one-line business ID booth sign.  Free WiFi.

HOW CAN I BECOME A SPONSOR?

If you are interested in supporting the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, become a sponsor! Depending on the level of sponsorship, the benefits to you range from exposure on our website’s home page or sponsor link, possible free booths or endcaps guaranteed at the Birders Bazaar Tradeshow (if submitted by July 1), recognition on RGVBF Facebook page plus other media, placing inserts into Registrant’s Packets, Festival gear and events plus an invite to the very popular Welcome Reception.

  • Sponsorship Levels*
    • Aplomado Falcon $10,000+
    • Great Kiskadee $5,500- $9,999
    • Red-crowned Parrot $3,000-$5,499
    • Ringed Kingfisher $1,000-$2,999
    • Chachalaca $300-$999

*Sponsorships can be made through cash donations, in-kind donations, or a combination of the two.

Contact Irma Pye Gavito at sponsorships@rgvbf.org for additional information and a sponsorship packet or please click this link <Sponsorship form>.  Documents are available for the Sponsor Newsletter – click here to download. Many thanks to our current sponsors!

We hope you have benefited from the thousands of birders that visit our website annually, see our brochure, are our Facebook friends, visited the Birders Bazaar, and/or have attended at least one of our 25 previous Birding Festivals!

WHEN IS THE FESTIVAL?

The 2021 Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival is Nov 10-14.  Registration Packet Pick-up will be on Tuesday, Nov 9th from 12 noon to 5 PM.  Be sure to pick up your credentials at the Harlingen Convention Center at that time OR prior to your first field trip!  If you are delayed and miss the that time slot, arrive 30 minutes before your field trip departs for pick-up of your credentials and welcome packet.  Daylight savings time ends the weekend prior, so hopefully your biological clock will have adjusted before we begin those early morning field trips!

HOW DO I GET THERE?

Harlingen is located in the southern tip of Texas, about 30 miles west of the Gulf of Mexico and 15 miles north of the Rio Grande River. We are further south than one-third of Mexico, and therefore our rich bird diversity. Harlingen is a city of about 75,000 people and is the fourth largest city in the Rio Grande Valley. It offers a convenient airport, motels/hotels, restaurants, fast-food drive thru’s, national pharmacy chains, Wal-Mart & Target, a Travel Information Center, Bass Pro Shop, three HEB Grocery stores, and a mall, should you have forgotten anything.

Harlingen by air: Fly into Harlingen’s Valley International Airport (HRL). It is serviced by Delta, United, Southwest and Frontier (non-stops from Denver or Chicago), and seasonally by Sun Country Airlines (Nov-Apr). Most flights connect through Houston (IAH or HOU) or Dallas (DFW or DAL). With only 8 gates, the airport offers a very pleasant experience to fly in and out. Rental cars are available on site, and reservations are required.

Harlingen by car: Harlingen is located at the confluence of the new I-2 & I-69E (locally, US Hwy 83 & 77 respectively). It is a two-hour drive south of Corpus Christi and a four-hour drive south of San Antonio. You don’t want to know how long it takes to drive to El Paso, and yes, you are still in Texas.

HOW DO I GET THERE?

Harlingen is located in the southern tip of Texas, about 30 miles west of the Gulf of Mexico and 15 miles north of the Rio Grande River. We are further south than one-third of Mexico, and therefore our rich bird diversity. Harlingen is a city of about 75,000 people and is the fourth largest city in the Rio Grande Valley. It offers a convenient airport, motels/hotels, restaurants, fast-food drive thru’s, national pharmacy chains, Wal-Mart & Target, a Travel Information Center, Bass Pro Shop, three HEB Grocery stores, and a mall, should you have forgotten anything.

Harlingen by air: Fly into Harlingen’s Valley International Airport (HRL). It is serviced by Delta, United, Southwest and Frontier (non-stops from Denver or Chicago), and seasonally by Sun Country Airlines (Nov-Apr). Most flights connect through Houston (IAH or HOU) or Dallas (DFW or DAL). With only 8 gates, the airport offers a very pleasant experience to fly in and out. Rental cars are available on site, and reservations are required.

Harlingen by car: Harlingen is located at the confluence of the new I-2 & I-69E (locally, US Hwy 83 & 77 respectively). It is a two-hour drive south of Corpus Christi and a four-hour drive south of San Antonio. You don’t want to know how long it takes to drive to El Paso, and yes, you are still in Texas.

WONDERING WHICH FIELD TRIPS ARE RIGHT FOR YOU?

WHAT FIELD TRIPS ARE RIGHT FOR ME?

++ Border Patrol Checkpoint requires identification

BEGINNER – Beginners are always welcome on all trips. Some sites are easier for new birders to spot birds and enjoy their trip.

Bentsen SP
Breakfast with the Birds at Chachalaca Bend
Easy (But Not Less!)
Edinburg & Quinta Mazatlán
Estero Llano Grande Grand Tour
McAllen Nature Center & San Juan Wetlands
Parrots of the Area
Raptor Banding
Resaca de la Palma SP
River Pontoon & Anzalduas
Santa Ana NWR
Songbird Banding
South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center
Weslaco’s Urban Oases

CUSTOM – specific audience

Accessible Birding (wheelchairs/scooters)
Big Day Vans (listers, Texas Century Club)
Butterflies
PhotoTrack (photography opportunities)
Where Locals Bird (listers, Texas Century Club)
Young Birders (age 12-20)

EASIER – For those who prefer less walking

Breakfast with the Birds at Chachalaca Bend
Butterflies
Colley’s “Private” Island
Easy (But Not Less!)
Edinburg & Quinta Mazatlán
Laguna Atascosa Lakeside Drive
Old Port Isabel Road
Parrots of the Area
McAllen Nature Center & San Juan Wetlands
Raptor Banding
River Pontoon & Anzalduas
Songbird Banding
South Padre Island & Bay Cruise
Weslaco’s Urban Oases

FAMILY – Families are welcome on any trip, and the following would be a special experience

Birding in the Digital Age
Butterflies
Colley’s “Private” Island
Edinburg & Quinta Mazatlán
McAllen Nature Center & San Juan Wetlands
Parrots of the Area
Raptor Banding
Resaca de la Palma SP
River Pontoon & Anzalduas
Songbird Banding
South Padre Island & Bay Cruise
South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center

CLASSICS – First trip to the Valley? Here are the famous not-to-be-missed sites

Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park

Estero Llano Grande Grand Tour
King Ranch
Laguna Atascosa Lakeside Drive
Sabal Palm Sanctuary
Santa Ana NWR
South Padre Island & Bay Cruise
Upper Rio Grande

BEEN BEFORE – Interesting choices beyond the famous parks

Arroyo Colorado Unit
Audubon Islands
Bahia Grande
Battlefields & Birds with Jon Dunn
Big Day Vans
Biking for Birds
Birding in the Digital Age
Boca Chica Road++
Breakfast with the Birds at Chachalaca Bend
Butterflies
Colley’s “Private” Island
eBird Tips and Tricks
Kleberg County Romp ++
Las Estrellas & Rancho Lomitas
Learning Sparrows
Learning to Listen
Old Port Isabel Road
Ornithology & More
Port Mansfield
Raptor Banding
River Pontoon & Anzalduas
Santa Margarita Bluffs
Shorebird ID Field Workshop
Songbird Banding
Southmost Preserve
Valley Raptors
Where the Locals Bird

HOW DO I BECOME A VOLUNTEER?

Volunteers are the bread-and-butter of our Festival. We need volunteers for parking cars, putting supplies on outgoing vehicles, sending out buses, posting and changing out signs, receiving vendors, welcoming returning buses and scouting for lost & found on the vehicles, retrieving supplies off returning vans, restocking of depleted items & inventories, checking out operating supplies, assistance in auditorium during presentations, guide room assistance, stuffing badge holders & alphabetizing, stuffing goodie bags, folding t-shirts, office assistance (computer skills preferred), rovers within the building (attention to needs), and so on. If you have a skill, we can probably use it!

Leave Cristela Wise a voicemail at (956) 873-3167, send an email to volunteers@rgvbf.org or fill this <Volunteer form> to offer your services. Shifts range from 3 hours to as long as you can last. Only happy people need apply!

WHERE DO I STAY?

Harlingen offers a wide variety of hotel properties and rates to accommodate every visitor. For a printable version of Festival-friendly recommendations and preferred rates, click here.

For a Harlingen Visitors Guide, go to visitharlingentexas.com or call the Harlingen Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 531-7346.

Once in Harlingen, stop by the Harlingen Chamber of Commerce (311 E Tyler Street) or the Texas Travel Information Center (2021 W Harrison, at the junction of I-2 and I-69E underpass) for brochures on local and Valley-wide attractions.

We strongly suggest you stay in Harlingen, as trip departures are EARLY, and buses do not wait for tardy birders!

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

Request additional information at registration@rgvbf.org, or call 209-227-4823. For registration questions, call 956-423-5565. Be sure to leave name and phone number clearly should you need to leave a message. A brochure can be downloaded from the website, or mailed to you. Email your request to registration@rgvbf.org, and include complete name, mailing address and phone number. A printed brochure will be included in every registrant’s packet once you arrive at the Convention Center.

For additional information: call (209) 227-4823 or email info@rgvbf.org.
For registration questions: call (956) 423-5565 or email registration@rgvbf.org.
For mailing: RGVBF,  PO Box 3162, Harlingen, TX  78551.
Office location:  Chamber of Commerce Building, 311 E Tyler Ave, Harlingen, TX 78550.

HOW DO I GET AROUND?

The Festival does not provide shuttle service between the airport, hotels, restaurants or Festival activities. Some of the hotels may provide limited shuttle service to and from the airport, but in order to best experience the Festival and our unique area, we strongly encourage renting a car. While your mornings are spent on field trips, the afternoons are your opportunity to wander, chase and explore.

IS THE RIO GRANDE VALLEY SAFE?

In a word, YES!!  The Rio Grande Valley continues to grow but we still have a small town feel.  A recent study ranking the nation’s cities using FBI crime statistics and crime types and trends, SafeHome.org listed Harlingen, Brownsville, McAllen, Edinburg and Mission in the top 60 safest places to live in Texas with populations above 50,000.  Interested in learning more, go to www.safehome.org/safest-cities/tx/

HOW DO I BECOME A VENDOR?

The Birders Bazaar runs Thursday through Sunday (Nov. 7– 10, noon to 6 pm/4 pm on Sunday), and vendors must commit to stay for the entire show – early take-downs may not be invited to return. Contact Marilyn Vincent at tradeshow@rgvbf.org to become a vendor.  Priority is given to vendor attendees from the 2018 Festival in the spring of 2019, then open booths are released to new vendors on June 1. Your application is time-stamped, so early responders have the best opportunity. Any reserved booths not paid by September 1 will also be released to new vendors.

Standard Commercial Booth – $250.  8×10 booth, with one skirted 6’ table, 2 chairs, draped back and side walls, and a one-line business ID booth sign.  Free WiFi.

Standard Non-profit Booth – $175.  8×10 booth, one skirted 6’ table, 2 chairs, draped back and side walls, with a one-line business ID booth sign.  Free WiFi.

HOW CAN I BECOME A SPONSOR?

If you are interested in supporting the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, become a sponsor! Depending on the level of sponsorship, the benefits to you range from exposure on our website’s home page or sponsor link, possible free booths or endcaps guaranteed at the Birders Bazaar Tradeshow (if submitted by July 1), recognition on RGVBF Facebook page plus other media, placing inserts into Registrant’s Packets, Festival gear and events plus an invite to the very popular Welcome Reception.

  • Sponsorship Levels*
    • Aplomado Falcon $10,000+
    • Great Kiskadee $5,500- $9,999
    • Red-crowned Parrot $3,000-$5,499
    • Ringed Kingfisher $1,000-$2,999
    • Chachalaca $300-$999

*Sponsorships can be made through cash donations, in-kind donations, or a combination of the two.

Contact Irma Pye Gavito at sponsorships@rgvbf.org for additional information and a sponsorship packet or please click this link <Sponsorship form>.  Documents are available for the Sponsor Newsletter – click here to download. Many thanks to our current sponsors!

We hope you have benefited from the thousands of birders that visit our website annually, see our brochure, are our Facebook friends, visited the Birders Bazaar, and/or have attended at least one of our 25 previous Birding Festivals!

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR EBLAST.
PLEASE REGISTER USING THE FORM BELOW