Top Ten Reasons to Come to the Alabama Coastal BirdFest
September 2, 2004

According to a national survey of recreational pursuits, almost twice as many people travel for bird watching than travel to play golf. Early registrations for the first annual Alabama Coastal BirdFest include eager birders from as far away as Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Minnesota. Why? It’s the number-one reason cited below.

1. See new birds. Bird watchers love to add to their list of "life birds," that is, birds they will see for the first time in their life. The Alabama Gulf Coast is a prime spot on the Central Flyway, a migration route for millions of birds that spend their summers as far north as Canada and the Arctic and their winters in Central and South America.

2. Learn about birds. The free, day-long Bird Expo, held on the grounds of Faulkner State Community College in Fairhope on Saturday, Oct. 16, will be entertaining and educational for both serious and backyard birders. Visitors of all ages can enjoy award-winning bird and nature films, workshops, seminars, birdhouse construction, mini-birding tours, children’s activities, and environmental displays.

3. See a celebrity. Dr. Doug Phillips, popular host of the award winning and long running Alabama Public Television program, Discovering Alabama, will be autographing copies of his new book, Discovering Alabama Wetlands.

4. Enjoy group birding. Bird watching is often a solitary pastime. On your own, can you really be sure that you saw what you think you saw? The Alabama Coastal BirdFest will feature guided birding tours to stops along the 240-mile long Alabama Coastal Birding Trail with local experts. Trips are by chartered coach and depart from the James P. Nix Center in Fairhope.

5. Help the economy. Bird watching has a big impact on the economy. According to a national survey of recreational pursuits, more people travel for bird watching than travel for golf. In the state of Alabama in 2001, more than $625 million was spent on bird watching.

6. Help preserve bird habitats. Proceeds from the Alabama Coastal BirdFest will be used to help preserve and protect migratory bird habitats along the Alabama Gulf Coast.

7. Make new friends. Birdwatchers love to "flock" together. People who meet at birding festivals stay in touch and travel together to other festivals throughout the years. Former President Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Carter are devoted bird watchers and often attend festivals. Who knows whom you will rub shoulders with while bird watching?

8. Do a little shopping. During the free, day-long Bird Expo on Saturday, Oct. 16, (held on the grounds of Faulkner State Community College in Fairhope) shop for bird and wildlife-related art, supplies, books, and other goodies.

9. Have fun! The Alabama Coastal BirdFest includes a variety of social events: An opening night reception, Thursday, Oct. 14, on board the USS Alabama, with special guest J. Steven Griles, the US Deputy Secretary of the Interior. A barbecue and seafood social with silent auction and music from Mithril, Mobile Bay area’s favorite Celtic band on Friday, Oct. 15 at the James P. Nix Center in Fairhope. Dr. Van Remsen, Curator of Birds at the LSU Museum of Natural Science in Baton Rouge, is the guest speaker. Birding by Night and Seafood Feast, hosted by Alabama Seafood Association, at Blakeley State Park on Saturday,
Oct. 16. Dr. Doug Phillips, host of the popular show Discovering Alabama, is the guest speaker.

10. Discover your own backyard. Alabama Coastal BirdFest is a perfect opportunity for locals to enjoy the sites that visitors come hundreds of miles to appreciate. Sit back, relax, and take a guided tour of such spots as Dauphin Island, Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge, Weeks Bay Reserve, Fort Morgan, Grand Bay Savannah, and the Mobile Tensaw River Delta.

Advance registration is required for all BirdFest tours and dinners. Register for any Alabama Coastal BirdFest event here or by calling 251-990-0423.