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This year’s festival is scheduled for Nov 7th -11th, 2018. The registration desk at Harlingen Municipal Auditorium will open on Tuesday, Nov 6th from noon to 5 PM. Plan to pick-up your registration materials at that time. Daylight Savings Time ends the weekend before the Festival, so perhaps you will have time to adjust your biological clocks by your first field trip.
Request additional information at [email protected], 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 [email protected], 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 Municipal Auditorium.
For additional information: call (209) 227-4823 or email [email protected].
For registration questions: call (956) 423-5565 or email [email protected].
For mailing: RGVBF,  PO Box 3162, Harlingen, TX  78551.
Office location:  Chamber of Commerce Building, 311 E Tyler Ave, Harlingen, TX 78550.
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 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.

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.
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!


++ 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
Bird Banding
Birding 101
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
Resaca de la Palma SP
River Pontoon & Anzalduas
Santa Ana NWR
Weslaco’s Urban Oases
EASIER (For those who prefer less walking)
Big Easy Birding (Handicap accessible only)
Bird Banding
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
River Pontoon & Anzalduas
South Padre Island & Bay Cruise
Weslaco’s Urban Oases
FAMILY (Families are welcome on any trip, and the following would be a special experience)
Bird Banding
Birding 101
Butterflies
Colley’s “Private” Island
Edinburg & Quinta Mazatlán
McAllen Nature Center & San Juan Wetlands
Parrots of the Area
Resaca de la Palma SP
River Pontoon & Anzalduas
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
Bird ID Simplified with Steve NG Howell
Boca Chica Road++
Breakfast with the Birds at Chachalaca Bend
Butterflies
Colley’s “Private” Island
Duck, Duck, Goose with Richard Crossley
eBird Tips and Tricks
Kleberg County Romp ++
Old Port Isabel Road
Ornithology & More with Jon Dunn
Port Mansfield
River Pontoon & Anzalduas
Santa Margarita Bluffs
Shorebird ID Field Workshop
Southmost Preserve
Valley Raptors
Where the Locals Bird
The Birders Bazaar runs Thursday through Sunday (Nov. 8– 11, 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 [email protected] to become a vendor.  Priority is given to vendor attendees from the 2017 Festival in the spring of 2018, 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.

  • Booth Fees (2018)
    • Standard Booth (8’x10’) – Each booth includes pipe & drape, 1-6’ skirted table, electrical access (BYO cords), and WiFi
    • Standard Booth (8’x10’) –  Commercial vendors $200
    • Non-profit organizations $125
    • Extra 6’ skirted table – $30 per extra table
    • Endcap Booths (8’x16’) – limited number, included with certain levels of sponsorship
    • Each vendor receives name badges for attending staff, which allows them into all presentations and keynote speakers. Registration fee is waived for any field trips.

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*
    • Great Kiskadee $5,000+
    • Red-crowned Parrot $2,500+
    • Ringed Kingfisher $1,000+
    • Chachalaca $ 250+
    • Feathered Friends $ 50+

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

Contact Irma Gavito at [email protected] for additional information and a sponsorship packet.  Documents are available for the Sponsor Newsletter and Pledge Form – click on the Downloads tab at the top of our home page. Many thanks to our current sponsors!

We hope you have benefitted from the thousands of birders that visit our website, see our brochure, are our Facebook friends, visited the Birders Bazaar, and/or have attended at least one of our 24 previous Birding Festivals!

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!

Contact Tamie Bulow at [email protected] or 956-423-5565 to offer your services. Shifts range from 3 hours to as long as you can last. Only happy people need apply!