Exciting new opportunities abound this year during the Whooping Crane Festival taking place this week, 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. Even though this special tour is only being offered twice during the Festival, the only available space is on the 6:30 a.m. Friday trip with limited capacity. With our cooperative arrangement with Fisherman’s Wharf, trips to view the cranes are scheduled Thursday through Sunday, but only by registered participants for the festival.

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. The free nature-related “Bird’s Nest” trade show opens Friday, February 22 at 9:00 a.m. at the Port Aransas Civic Center and runs through Sunday afternoon. The festival has added events for families as well at no charge including a charming children’s art exhibit at the Port Aransas Art Center, a children’s corner on Saturday and a ‘Not So Creepy Critters’ show on Sunday at the trade show.

Presentations by experts in their fields will focus on a variety of conservation initiatives regarding cranes around the world, including the new monitoring method for tracking the only naturally migrating flock of Whooping Cranes.

Birding experts will be onsite at the various wildlife viewing areas that have contributed to Port Aransas’ title as the Birdiest Small Coastal City for three consecutive years. Sponsors for the event this year include Cheniere Energy, Eagle Optics, HEB, the Port of Corpus Christi, and Swarovski Optik as well as many local partners.

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.”