Keep an Eye Out for These Birding Events and Activities in Louisiana

There are tons of birding opportunities all over #OnlyLouisiana, and these festivals make it even more fun.

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The official Explore Louisiana blogging team.
Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival

Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival

Scarlet Tanager Bird Grand Isle

Scarlet Tanager Bird in Grand Isle

Blue Heron Louisiana Birding

Blue Heron

Great Egret

Spoonbills-Louisiana-Birding

Spoonbills

Least-Bittern-Louisiana-Birding

Least Bittern

*Always check the festival websites for the most up-to-date information, as events and dates are subject to change.

Did you know Louisiana is a veritable hotspot for birds, and therefore birders and bird enthusiasts? Check out these exciting birding events that appeal to all wildlife lovers.

Grand Isle Migratory Bird Celebration

Keep your eyes peeled and ears open for a chance to spot some of our feathered friends in Grand Isle - an essential stop for songbirds during their spring and fall migrations across the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana’s only inhabited barrier island hosts the Annual Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival. Whether you’re an expert ornithophile and or a novice needing to break in your binoculars, this is the perfect opportunity to spot songbirds in oak and hackberry woods, shorebirds and waders on beaches and in the marshes and raptors overhead.

Highlights of this event include daily, expert-led bird watching tours on the Grand Isle Birding Trail, Elmer’s Island and the Grand Isle State Park. Visitors can watch the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries catch migrating songbirds for weighing and measuring before release in Lafitte Woods Preserve and later tour the new LDWF Fisheries Research Lab. Kayak tours through the island’s mangroves and boat tours to pelican-rookery Queen Bess Island will also be offered as well as walking tours of the island’s historical homes.

Eagle Expo Weekend Offers Top-Notch Birding

Boat tours, photography workshops and expert speakers provide opportunities to learn about – and explore – Louisiana’s Cajun Coast.

What better setting for a weekend of birding boat tours, wildlife presentations and outdoor photography seminars than the Atchafalaya Basin, home to nesting bald eagles, rare flora and diverse fauna. The Annual Eagle Expo, traditionally held each February, offers a chance to explore them all during special events in Morgan City.

Get a close-up view of birds of prey like raptors, owls, hawks, falcons, bald eagles – and one very funny vulture – at a lively Wings to Soar presentation, then learn how to photograph them first-hand during a workshop “field trip” to Bayou Black. Explore interactive exhibits highlighting the outdoors at the Water & Nature Expo, then soak up fascinating stories by expert speakers like biological engineer, avid birder and author Marybeth Lima, who has seen more than 300 different bird species in Louisiana.

But the best way to enjoy nature is being out “in” it, so don’t miss one of five popular boat tours that give you a real birds-eye view of the area during Eagle Expo weekend.

Join “Captain Caviar” John Burke for a tour of the Atchafalaya Basin, home to 170 bird species, or take the Turtle Bayou Tour through natural habitats offering fantastic views of local wildlife. Let Billy Gaston of Cajun Man's Swamp Tours and Adventures guide you on a Cajun-spiced trip through Bayou Black, where you’ll meander along old oil and gas canals past bald eagles, ospreys, hawks and various waterfowl.

In addition, the Greenwood Gator Farm and Swamp Tour ventures deep into Bayou Black for a glimpse of bald eagles, herons, egrets, hawks and more surrounded by cypress trees.

Advance registration for Eagle Expo is required. Your $40 ticket includes admission to the Wings to Soar presentation, a Friday night social, Water & Nature Expo, breakfast seminars and a T-shirt. Boat tours and the photography workshop require additional fees.

Yellow Rails and Rice Birding Festival

The Yellow Rails and Rice Festival is unique in that attendees can observe close-up rice harvesting operations, including riding on the combine, with the benefit of seeing Yellow Rails and other rail species (Sora, Virginia and King) that may be flushed by a combine while it is harvesting rice. However, the best views of the rails will be from the field, so participants are encouraged to attend field days. In addition, ATVs may also be available at the fields to get closer to the action. An ice chest with bottled water is available at the field site, but participants are more than welcome to bring their own snacks and water. Head’s up: Walk-ins are not accepted, so be sure to register in advance!

Check out these great spots for birding in Louisiana and share photos with #OnlyLouisiana on your social channels. We'd love to see which birds you spotted throughout your travels in the Pelican State!  

For more information on birdwatching in the state, visit Louisiana Birding.