Birding Galveston Island

FeatherFest Field Trip Experience

Photos by Jim Stevenson.  

14th Anniversary
Galveston FeatherFest Birding & Nature Photo Festival
April 14-17, 2016
Galveston Island, Texas

(Photo by Lorenzo Lorente)

Mark your calendar now to attend the largest birding and nature photography festival on the Upper Texas Coast, April 14-17, 2016!

Unique outdoor adventures amid 200+ species of birds are in store for all ages at the 14th Annual FeatherFest & Nature Photography Festival. What’s more, you’ll find Galveston Island and its surrounding areas steeped in Texas charm, history and hospitality.

Galveston is one of the top locations for birding in the nation, and this family-friendly festival is held during spring migration – the best time to visit world-renowned birding hot spots like Bolivar Flats and High Island.

There will be something for everyone at FeatherFest 2016, whether you’re a novice or experienced outdoor enthusiast. Expert-led excursions by bus, boat and kayak will visit a variety of habitats, from beaches to bays, bay marshes to wetlands, and coastal prairies to upland wood mottes. Our successful photography track is perfect for camera buffs at all levels. And for children, we have FledglingFest – our family track of activities designed for kiddos ages six and up and their grown-ups!

Check Tabs Above for Past Program Activity Descriptions & Check Back in November for the 2016 Line-up!

Our 2016 schedule of events and registration information will be posted mid-November. Sign up for our e-newsletter in the box in the left column of this page and be among the first to know! We’ve left our 2015 birding, photography and children’s events online to give you an idea of the programs we offer. Many of these activities, plus some exciting new ones will be offered for our 2016 festival. We look forward to seeing you next spring!

Results of FeatherFest 2015

(Photo by Joe Blackburn)

An attendance record setting 654 birders and photographers of all ages experienced Galveston’s incredible biodiversity during the 13th Annual FeatherFest Birding and Nature Photography Festival held April 9-12, 2015. Timed to coincide with spring migration, FeatherFest yielded an impressive list of 221 species of resident, seasonal and migrating birds identified by participants.

This year, the Black-throated Blue Warbler made the list, a species never before recorded during FeatherFest. Special pre-festival trips to Beaumont, Rockport and the Katy Prairie, as well as fun social events on the island including Raptor’s Uncorked and Behind the Lens, a private dinner with renowned wildlife photographer Kevin Karlson, rounded out the schedule of more than 100 workshops and field trips that showcased the Gulf Coast’s best birding hotspots. 

FledglingFest, a division of FeatherFest designed for young birders ages six and up and their grownups, had twice as many participants as last year, and culminated in a rehearsal for the Great Texas Birding Classic competition. “Birding is fun for kids because you get to see new birds that you’ve never seen before and get to be outside exploring nature,” said Isabella Phelps, a 3rd grade student from Kingwood that shared her passion for birding with her peers by co-leading a FledglingFest workshop. “When families go outside and explore nature together, they learn new fun, exciting and interesting things together.”

The festival’s economic impact is estimated at more than $350,000, drawing attendees from 28 states, Canada and the United Kingdom. The nature tourism industry on the island is growing rapidly to accommodate an increase in demand for outdoor education and activities. FeatherFest organizers are now planning Holiday with the Cranes to be held December 11-13, to showcase Sandhill Cranes and other birds that enjoy the island’s mild winter climate.

The Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council (GINTC) would like to thank their gracious University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) hosts, Dr. Ben Raimer and Mr. Doug Matthews of Health Policy and Legislative Affairs, for their ongoing support, making it possible for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UTMB to serve as FeatherFest headquarters.

FeatherFest is a project of GINTC, which supports nature tourism and education, and promotes the value of area natural resources and habitats.

FledglingFest Dolphins & Birds by Boat (Photo by Anja Borski)


For Further Information

FeatherFest Hotline: 832.459.5533
Nature Tourism Info: 409.789.8125
Mail: Galveston FeatherFest, P.O. Box 1468
Galveston, TX 77553-1468

FeatherFest is a project of the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council which supports nature tourism and education, and promotes the value of area natural habitats.

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