Exciting new opportunities abound this year during the Whooping Crane Festival taking place next month, February 21-24 in Port Aransas, Texas. Enjoy an early morning continental breakfast and update on the cranes with Dr. George Archibald, International Crane Foundation’s co-founder, before boarding the Wharf Cat catamaran for a boat tour to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge to see the endangered Whooping Cranes. This tour is only being offered two times during the Festival with limited capacity – so we encourage you to register online now.
Speaking about one of the smallest and most intriguing species, the hummingbird, will be Dr. Juan Bahamon. A Corpus Christi physician and avid photographer, his passion at capturing photos of these flying jewels, stories about his travels to South America and his eye for photographing hummers is sure to entice birders of any nature.
If nature photography is on your life list, be sure to catch Sean Fitzgerald’s’ newest trip aboard the Mustang to capture beauty on the water. You’ll have the opportunity to capture photos of bottlenose dolphins, birds, beautiful landscapes, and the historic Lydia Ann Lighthouse. Sean will help with techniques and composition as the encounter is happening. All levels of expertise are welcome, but having attended one of Fitzgerald’s photography workshops is recommended.
The four-day festival attracts hundreds of birding enthusiasts each year and features world-renowned speakers, birding experts, boating excursions, as well as guided bird and nature bus tours. Exhibits, interactive workshops and seminars, a charming children’s art exhibit, and free nature-related “Bird’s Nest” trade show.
The 17th Annual Whooping Crane Festival offers the opportunity to see and experience a plethora of additional wildlife including white and brown pelicans, roseate spoonbills, cinnamon teal and even alligators.
Keynote speaker is Dr. George Archibald, an award-winning conservationist known globally as the world’s leading scientific authority on cranes. The National Audubon Society recently awarded Dr. Archibald the Lufkin Prize of $100,000 for his long career in conservation. The United Nations placed him on the Global 500 Roll of Honor for Environmental Achievement. Dr. Archibald’s topic will be “Helping Cranes Survive Development in the Land of Genghis Khan – Mongolia.” Other interesting speakers will include Aransas National Wildlife Refuge whooping crane coordinator Dr. Wade Harrell, Dr. Robin Doughty speaking on the Common Crane making a comeback in England, Dr. Sammy King presenting how rice, crawfish and marshes relate to the introduction of the Whooping Crane to Southwestern Louisiana, among others in the birding and nature field to complete the Festival activities.
About Port Aransas & Mustang Island Birding
The Coastal Bend of Texas, where the lower Gulf Coast bends into a long crescent, is one the birdiest places in Texas and boasts more than 150 nature and birding sites. Port Aransas has been named ‘America’s Birdiest Small Coastal City’ for the past three years. Located at the convergence of the migration superhighways, the Mississippi and Central flyways, the area including Port Aransas and Mustang Island are the perfect place to view hundreds of different bird species as they stop and refuel before heading north or south. Many stay and winter in Port Aransas. From the natural wetlands, inlets and miles of beaches and dunes, to the rock jetties, piers and boats, the area offers dozens of perfect vantage points to view all the birds that call Port Aransas and Mustang Island “The Nest of Texas.”