Get Up Close with WV's Wildlife at the Birding and Nature FestivalApril 8, 2015
As the peak of bird migratory season nears, so does the nationally-renowned 13th Annual New River Birding & Nature Festival.
Birders from all corners of the country will flock to WV the week of April 27- May 2 to hike through the woods and observe native and neotropical birds as they nest and breed. More than 100 species of birds are highlighted through a variety of tours and talks.
The guides and speakers at the NRBNF are literally a “who’s who” in the birding world. These avid birders bring their knowledge and experience to the festival to educate participants and to share their love of nature and birds.
Humans have been watching birds since before recorded history. Stoneage drawings are among the first recorded interests in birds, but modern orthinologists research several scientific disciplines like anatomy, paleontology, physiology and ecology to understand why birds evolve and behave the way they do.
The same rugged terrain that makes WV so popular for outdoor recreation also makes it a popular home for native birds and a breeding destination for migrating birds. Our unbroken forests, wetlands, high-elevation terrain and sparse population make our hills a safe place for birds to nest. Our wild and wonderful terrain of upland hardwood forests also provides an abundance of food for birds, including insects, small rodents, plants and seeds.
Among the birds that nest in WV are flycatchers, warblers, tanagers, hawks, orioles, hummingbirds, swallows, swifts, hawks, and falcons. These travelers from the south are neotropical birds that bring our forests alive with their bright colors and cheerful chirping.
WV is also a safe haven for at-risk bird species on the east coast. Many populations of birds in areas with forest degradation and urban sprawl are able to repopulate in WV every year to ensure the survival of their species.
Observing birds in the natural world is a little like going on a treasure hunt— you never know what you’ll find.
Birders have to be observant and very patient. Spotting birds and being able to identify the bird and understand its movements and behaviors is what birding is all about.
While it may seem that birds fly around or sit on branches at random, this is not the case. Many native and migrating birds can be observed swooping and diving to catch their meal, or foraging for wild seeds on the forest floor. Birds can be very territorial, especially when nesting. They can also have complicated mating rituals and intense social interactions. Interactions between birds of the same or different species in the natural world can put many drama-laden reality tv shows to shame.
The NRBNF has a variety or programs and tours that make it possible for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the amazing and diverse bird life in WV. Find an activity that suits you.
What are you hoping to spot at the New River Birding & Nature Festival?