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Festival of Birds logoFestival of Birds
January 12 - 14, 2018

Registration is now open for field trips and lectures during the Festival of Birds! Formerly known as the Southwest Florida Nature Festival, this event invites you to explore the local environment through dozens of guided field trips to wildlife hot spots around southwest Florida and lectures at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. This year we have a new emphasis on birds.

Field trips, including birding walks, buggy rides and boat tours, are still being offered in conjunction with local partners. Field trip prices range from $20 - $140, and registration is required. This year, field trip registration includes admission to the Environmental Learning Center on Saturday.

Event Schedule

Fri: Field trips all day
       Environmental Learning Center - Buy One Get One Admission

Sat: Field trips all day
       Environmental Learning Center - $10 Admission/FREE for Field trip participants 9 am - 4 pm
       - Includes Featured Lectures 

       Evening Keynote Presentation admission is $25
       - Friends of Rookery Bay members enjoy 10% discount

Sun: Field trips take place off-site
        Environmental Learning Center CLOSED

 See field trip details

Featured Lectures on Saturday

big year 2501 p.m. Birding as a Treasure Hunt: My Collier Big Year. Keith Laakkonen, Rookery Bay Research Reserve director, will give a light-hearted talk on how awesome birding can be, the amazing finds in Collier County over the past few years, and the insanity that can happen with a small Big Year.

2 p.m. A (Stuffed) Bird in the Hand: The Importance of Modern Natural History Collections. Alli Smith and Kim Savides will tell you that what you see on display at a museum is just the tip of the iceberg: behind the scenes, millions of specimens are meticulously stored and organized for use by researchers. From artists and students to paleontologists and veterinarians, ornithology collections are studied by a variety of people. In this talk, two young biologists share their perspectives of working with specimens and highlight current research using collections worldwide.

3 p.m. The Recipe for Saving Beach Birds: Education, Monitoring, and Nice Legs. Adam DiNuovo,  Shorebird Stewardship Program Manager with Audubon Florida at Rookery Bay, will discuss how Audubon Florida’s Coastal Team is using education, monitoring and research to help save the beach birds of Florida.



Bad Hair Day by Dennis Goodman

Buy your tickets now and enter to win an amazing print of "Bad Hair Day" by Dennis Goodman. This 16x24 print will be raffled off Saturday, January 13th at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center during the evening keynote lecture by Dr. Meyer. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE PRESENT TO WIN. Raffle tickets are available now and will also be available the day of the event.

1 Raffle Entry: $10.00

3 Raffle Entries: $25.00

Enter Here



Saturday Evening Keynote Presentation

ken action egret 2506 p.m. Data-driven Conservation for Florida’s Imperiled Raptors and Water Birds: 20 Years of Discovery Through ARCI’s Remote Tracking Studies 

Dr. Meyer will touch on highlights of the research he and his team at the Avian Research Conservation Institute have conducted over the last two decades, including some of the lessons learned, secrets revealed, and stories they hope will compel us all to conserve and sustain our natural treasures. The stars of the show will be the birds ARCI has tracked hundreds of thousands of miles – species that keep enriching our lives as they struggle to endure: Swallow-tailed Kites, Reddish Egrets, Short-tailed Hawks, White-crowned Pigeons, Snail Kites, Roseate and Common Terns, Crested Caracaras, Great White Herons, Magnificent Frigatebirds… 


Hotels Nearby

The accommodations suggestions below are listed in order of proximity:

Greenlinks Golf Villas

Fairfield Inn and Suites

Springhill Suites

Bayfront Inn on Fifth

Olde Marco Island Inn



Lodging Partners

Lemon Tree Inn
250 9th Street South
Complimentary continental breakfast
Government rate
2 queen beds $119
1 King $129

Best Western Inn & Suites
2329 9th Street N
Complimentary continental breakfast
No airport shuttle- free shuttle to beach only
Government Rate
Standard double $116.99
2 queen beds or 1 king $152.99

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