Early registration to the popular Whooping Crane Festival scheduled for February 20 – 23 in Port Aransas, Texas will remain open until midnight Monday, February 10, 2014. This one of a kind, nature related event focuses on the most endangered crane in the world, the majestic Whooping Crane. The festival features a variety of birding trips by boat, bus and foot that appeal to all level of birders – from novice to expert.

This year’s festival will provide a rare opportunity to learn about whooping crane conservation efforts across North America. The Port Aransas Whooping Crane Festival is the only known festival where representatives from every whooping crane conservation and reintroduction project will be in attendance for the public to interact with and learn about current initiatives.

The festival’s keynote presenter, Dr. George Archibald, is a world-renowned ornithologist and co-founder of the International Crane Foundation. He has received numerous conservation awards including the Dan W. Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership from The Audubon Society. For the first time in festival history, a representative from the whooping cranes’ breeding grounds in Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada, will be attending the festival. Rob Kent, superintendent of Wood Buffalo National Park, will be a guest lecturer. Additional speakers from the cranes’ wintering area in Texas and the whooping crane reintroduction projects in Louisiana and the Wisconsin/Florida eastern migratory flyway will also speak at this year’s festival. All speaker presentations will be held at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute for registered participants.

Local and area expert birders will be leading field trips and be on location at the many birding sites located in Port Aransas. They will be on hand to assist in helping our visitors identify the more than 140 species that are traditionally seen during the festival. Additional activities include the Bird’s Nest Trade Show featuring all natural products and exhibits, photography workshops and field trips led by world-renowned photographer Larry Ditto, art exhibits at the Port Aransas Art Center and several free activities around town.

Sponsored by Cheniere, Eagle Optics, Flint Hills Resources, HEB, Port Corpus Christi, and Swarovski Optik, this nature related, educational festival stands out as a not to be missed event. With a host of local partners assisting and participating, this festival will get you up close and personal to the wonderful nature that surrounds us in Port Aransas.

With limited availability and many trips filling up already, go to www.whoopingcranefestival.org and register today. On-site registration will open at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 20 at the Port Aransas Civic Center.