Balcones Songbird Nature Festival - April 26-29, 2012 (guest blogger)

This sounds like a fun event! Wish I had time to go myself...

John Yerger
Adventure Birding Company

Texas Hill Country Spring Bird Watching and Songbird Festival
by guest blogger Tracey Louis

If you have time for a quick trip or know a Texas birding enthusiast, you’ll want to make note of the upcoming 13th Annual Songbird Nature Festival occurring April 26-29th. In addition to unique events and activities, there will be top birdwatchers from around the state guiding dozens of specialty tours to view some of the area’s most notable winged creatures.

These tours are held primarily within the federally protected Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, offering spectacular opportunities to hear and sight countless glorious songbirds including the endangered species of the Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo.

Glimpse the Golden-Cheeked Warbler

This canyon and ravine-filled area is laden with Ashe juniper and live oaks that provide ideal shelter and nesting areas for this endangered species. It is intriguing to note that the Golden-cheeked Warbler is the only bird species with a breeding range limited to the Lonestar State. Many of the Songbird Festival’s journeys head out with intentions to sight this beauty in the wild and hear its melodic tune.

Black-capped Vireo photographed by John Yerger at Kerr WMA, April 2011

Black-capped Vireo Spotting

Listed as an endangered species since 1987, the Black-capped Vireo is a pleasure and a privilege to spot. April begins this species’ nesting period in Texas, though it extends through May. The Festival is timed to afford the best viewing opportunities during this season. The preservation of the Balcones Canyonlands staunchly protects this breeding ground for both of these at-risk species, and bird watchers at the Festival are highly likely to encounter them multiple times along treks.

Bird Watching Abounds at the Songbird Festival in Texas

Between premium, signature, and specialty birding tours, there’s likely a tour out there to satisfy all levels of birding enthusiasts from beginner to expert. The festival’s Signature Birding Tours are designed specifically for spotting these two endangered species along with other native migrant and breeding birds common to the area. Other events include a wine and stargazing event, several children’s activities, as well as educational courses in photography, breeding birds, song identification, and much more.

Attendees have ample camping options in the park, and there are plenty of comfortable accommodations in Marble Falls to meet your lodging needs during the festival. And, it’s wildflower season to boot!  Bluebonnets, paintbrushes, and other glorious blossoms have blanketed the area with a stunning array of colors.

As a former innkeeper at Lake Buchanan, Tracey Louis always enjoyed the spring time songs of the Central Texas birds, and frequently recommended hikes and parks for visitors to enjoy them in their natural habitats. 

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