festival of birds | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

A Month Devoted to Birds!

January 1-31, 2021
Join Rookery Bay and partners in January for a month of online activities, expert speakers and virtual adventures for nature and bird lovers everywhere!

  • Step 1 Purchase Your All-Inclusive Festival Pass Below
  • Step 2 Use Your Festival Code to Register for Each Lecture/Event
  • Step 3 Use Your Code to Receive 15% Off Eco-Tours

With a Festival of Birds’ Pass ($40), you’ll receive exclusive access to all activities, including eight presentations, virtual birding experiences broadcast live from the birding hot spots in Southwest Florida and other live-streaming nature activities.
Recordings of featured lectures and events will be made available exclusively to Festival Pass Holders.


Scott Weidensaul

Scott Weidensaul | Festival of Birds | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

January 13, 2021

7:00PM - 8:00PM

Messing Around with Birds (For Fun and Science)

Join naturalist Scott Weidensaul for a lighthearted exploration of his many avian research projects, from banding hawks and tiny saw-whet owls to tracking snowy owls and studying the migration of western hummingbirds that aren’t supposed to be in the Northeast in December (but are). Best of all, learn how anyone with some enthusiasm and time can make important contributions to the science and conservation of birds, and have a great time doing it.

*Festival Pass Required*


Ebird Challenge with Rookery Bay | Festival of Birds | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

January 1-31, 2021

Interested in the Birds Around You?
Learn More and Win Prizes!

Participate in the Rookery Bay eBird Challenge!  eBird is a an amazing citizen science project that helps everyday people track bird populations and see migration shifts.

*Festival Pass Required*

There are 3 different ways to participate and explore your area for any level of birder.

  1. Streak Challenge – Submit a checklist every day of the month and see how long of a streak you can have!
  2. Backyard (Patch) Challenge – Submit multi-checklists for the same location in your neighborhood within a 5 mile radius area.
  3. Collier Challenge – Find as many different species of birds in Collier County, Florida throughout the month.


January 1-31, 2021

Voted #1 Best in USA Today

For the month of January only get 15% OFF with Festival Pass of kayak and boat tours at Rookery Bay Research Reserve with our ecotour affiliated partner – Rising Tide Explorers. Discount code provided with Festival Pass purchase.

*Festival Pass Required for discount*
Eco-Tours | Boat and Kayak Tours | Kayak Rentals | Rookery Bay Research Reserve


Athan Barkoukis

Director of Friends of Rookery Bay

Keith Laakkonen

Director of Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Athan and Kieth | Executive Director of Friends of Rookery Bay | Director of Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

January 5, 2021

3:00PM - 3:45PM

Welcome to Festival of Birds 2021

With renewed public interest in nature, we celebrate Rookery Bay Research Reserve’s 40+ years protecting 40% of Collier County’s coastline. Through volunteerism, outreach and advocacy efforts and membership support, learn how you can make a difference protecting this special place for generations to come.

*Festival Pass Required*
eBird Pennsylvania

Holly Merker

State Coordinator & Bird Instructor
Holly Merker | Festival of Birds | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

January 6, 2021

3:00PM - 3:45PM

eBird and Citzen Science: Making Impacts in Understanding Bird Populations and Migration

How can you make a direct impact on bird conservation? By contributing your bird observations to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird Database, you are powering conservation science. These data are critical in research, land management, and conservation projects across the globe. In this webinar, we’ll explore how these data are used, and how to use eBird.

*Festival Pass Required*
Audubon Florida

Paul Gray

Science Coord for Everglades Restoration Program
Paul Gray | Festival of Birds | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

January 7, 2021

3:00PM - 3:45PM

Recovery of the Everglade Snail Kite in Florida

The endangered Everglade Snail Kite population crashed in the early 2000s, losing some 75% of all adults in just a decade. Since then, exotic apple snails have proliferated and supported a gradual rebound in Kite numbers and expansion of their nesting range. Unfortunately, native apple snails populations do not seem large enough, or widespread enough, to be supporting Snail Kites today. Paul will give an update on snail and Kite trends including the good and not so good future scenarios.

*Festival Pass Required*
Rookery Bay Research Reserve

EDscursion @ CWA

Education Team LIVE Adventures
Festival of Birds | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

January 8, 2021

9:00AM - 9:45AM

Explore Critical Wildlife Areas in Rookery Bay Research Reserve Virtually! 

Critical Wildlife Areas offer refuge to thousands of birds in Rookery Bay Research Reserve. Join Rookery Bay’s Education Team and explore the nesting and resting spots for multiple birds in Rookery Bay Research Reserve. Live and streaming with a question and answer session.

Florida Avian Conservation

Jim McGinity

Founder and Master Bander
Jim McGinity | Festival of Birds | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

January 8, 2021

3:00PM - 3:45PM

Where O’ Where Can the Songbirds Go? – Passerine Bird Migration Along the West Coast of Florida

What challenges do migratory songbirds face on their biannual migrations north and south each year? Come learn about migration from the perspective of one of our favorite groups of birds: warblers, tanagers and other passerines.

This program will give an overview of the process of bird banding, review the findings of the 10 – year study of the migratory birds in Hammock Park, Dunedin, discuss the future of the project on Caladesi Island State Park and end with a visual “songbird quiz” and highlights of the birds we have banded to close out the program.

*Festival Pass Required*
Audubon of Western Everglades Owl Watch

Jean Hall

Jean Hall | Festival of Birds | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

January 9, 2021

3:00PM - 3:45PM

Burrowing Owls of Marco Island

One of the most charismatic owls on the planet, Burrowing Owls are tough, adaptable, and resilient. Jean Hall will share her experiences with the Florida Burrowing Owl through her photography and personal stories.

*Festival Pass Required*
Audubon Florida

Shawn Clem

Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Research Director
Shawn Clem | Festival of Birds | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

January 11, 2021

3:00PM - 3:45PM

Wood Storks and the increasingly important role of inland wetlands on a developing SWFL landscape

Southwest Florida’s iconic Wood Storks, particularly those nesting at Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, are facing increasing challenges as development progresses in inland Collier County. Learn more about how Wood Storks are doing, what threats this species is facing, and how conservation measures aimed at improving nesting conditions can benefit wildlife and people throughout our region.

*Festival Pass Required*
Audubon Florida

Adam DiNuovo

Shorebird Monitoring and Stewardship Manager
Adam DiNuovo | Festival of Birds | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

January 12, 2021

3:00PM - 3:45PM

Life in a Seabird Colony

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live on a remote island with nothing but birds? Join Adam DiNuovo as he discusses his adventures from years of living and working with seabirds.

*Festival Pass Required*
Rookery Bay Research Reserve

Birding Photography Class

Photography Tips & Tricks
Festival of Birds | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

January 13, 2021

9:30AM - 12:30PM

Learn to Take Better Bird Photos

If you want to get the best bird pictures possible, and truly understanding your camera’s features, this online photography workshop is for you!

*Festival Pass Required*
Rookery Bay & Audubon FL

Virtual Binoculars

LIVE with Rookery Bay and Audubon Biologists
Festival of Birds | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

January 16, 2021

9:00AM - 10:30AM

Join Us LIVE and Streaming on the Beach and Check Out Birds in Real time Through a Virtual Spotting Scope!

Southwest Florida is a critical stopover site for thousands of migrating and wintering shorebirds. In this virtual program, Adam DiNuovo of Audubon Florida and Collette Lauzau of Rookery Bay Research Reserve will discuss the life history of these birds and the incredible journeys many of them make annually.

*Festival Pass Required*
Kachemak Bay Research Reserve

Alaska EDscursion

Education Team LIVE Adventures
Festival of Birds | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

January 22, 2021

1:00PM - 1:45PM

How Birds Connect the Tundra to the Tropics and the Reserves Along the Way

Join Rookery Bay Research Reserve and connect live with our sister Reserve in Kachemak Bay, Alaska to learn about the bird life and diverse habitats in Alaska along with our Education Team.

*Festival Pass Required*
Rookery Bay Research Reserve

Trivia Night

Nature Trivia, Fun & Prizes!
Trivia Night | Festival of Birds | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

January 26, 2021

7:00PM – 7:45PM
Join Rookery Bay Research Reserve and test your knowledge about the Reserve, birds and “all things” nature in Southwest Florida. The Rookery Bay team will be on hand to dole out the fun, fellowship and to tabulate results. It will be interactive, fun and, of course, there will be lots of cool Rookery Bay prizes for winners (and many of the runner ups) in the group. See you there!

Become a Member

Connecting people with southwest Florida’s dynamic coastal environment in support of Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Consider a donation to support the Reserve’s Education Department and all their amazing programs, including Festival of Birds!
Members Night | Call to Action | Become a Member | Friends of Rookery Bay | Rookery Bay Research Reserve