Alabama Coastal BirdFest a big hit!
October 14 - 17, 2004
The first annual Alabama Coastal BirdFest is now history, and by all report, it was a great success!
“We are very happy with the way that our first BirdFest turned out,” said John Borom, president of the Mobile Bay Audubon Society, one of the organizers of the event. “We had a lot of satisfied birders and we raised a good deal of money that will be used to help protect and preserve bird habitats here on the Alabama Gulf Coast.”
According to Borom, BirdFest had an economic impact on the community of over $60,000. And, thanks to generous donations from sponsors as well as proceeds from registration fees, merchandise sales, and a silent auction, BirdFest generated an additional $47,000 that will be used in various ways to purchase, preserve and protect local bird habitats
The 2004 Alabama Coastal BirdFest attracted nearly 200 registrants from all over the Southeast and from as far away as New York, Michigan, Colorado and Arizona.
“We had registrants from 16 states. Serious birders will travel a great distance for a chance to see a new bird and to be able to add it to their life list, and several of our attendees were able to do just that,” said Borom. “One person told me that she sighted a reddish egret for the first time and another lady, a visitor from New York, said she added 11 birds to her life list.”
Visitors to the Alabama Coastal BirdFest took part in 14 guided birding tours and three evening events. Approximately 1,000 people attended the free, daylong Bird Expo that was held on the grounds of Faulkner State Community College in Fairhope.
“We planned the Expo to give locals a chance to learn more about birds and birding even if they weren’t going on any of the tours,” said Borom. “We were so pleased at the number of people who showed up. We gave away 200 birdhouses within the first three hours. There was a steady crowd all day, and our vendors and exhibitors all reported good attendance and sales.”
The next Alabama Coastal BirdFest is planned for Oct. 20-23, 2005. As details develop, information will be available at 251-929-0922 and on the BirdFest website at www.alabamacoastalbirdfest.com.
Major sponsors for Alabama Coastal BirdFest 2004 were the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Lands Division; Alabama Power; Mobile Bay National Estuary Program; Mississippi/Alabama Sea Grant; Faulkner State Community College, and The Forum. Other top sponsors included The City of Fairhope, Baldwin County Commission, ConocoPhillips, Mobile Bay Audubon Society, The Munson Foundation and the Nature Conservancy.
Numerous other organizations contributed toward BirdFest, including Weeks Bay Foundation, the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce, Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
We received lots of positive comments about the first annual Alabama Coastal BirdFest, held Oct. 14-17, 2004. Here’s just a sampling of what people are saying …
on an outstanding first event. It is obvious that a great deal of planning
and forethought went into the festival. Considering the extra challenge of
“Sir Ivan,” I’d say you should be more than pleased with
the outcome. In addition, the people who led my tours (Weeks Bay and Dauphin
Island/Sand Island) were outstanding! I came back to New York with eleven
new birds! Once again, congratulations.” E.E., New York
“The tours were handled very well. The guides were very instructive.” M.S., St. Louis, Missouri
“You have done a wonderful job!” L.B., Atlanta, Georgia
“This was a class act event and fun!” J.B. & S.G., Brewton, Alabama
“I really enjoyed your Sand Island trip. It was beautiful and not someplace I could get on my own.” A.P., Nashville, Tennessee
“Now we know what Southern hospitality is all about.” J.F., Denver, Colorado
“Got a great view of wildlife and the Tensaw Delta. Have a better appreciation for the size of the area.” (regarding Tensaw/Blakeley State Park boat trip), A.M., Fairhope, Alabama
“Your organization was great, transportation was great, lunches were good. Can’t wait till next year!” L.K. & J.E., Daphne, Alabama.
BirdFest 2004 Photos
Liberty and Spirit, two eagles from the Southeastern Raptor Rehabilitation Center at Auburn University were big hits at several BirdFest events. Here, trainer and educator Marianne Worley lets Spirit spread her wings.
Guide Eric Soehren talks about the various species of birds that might be sighted at Forever Wild Grand Bay Savannah.
A couple of birders check out the list of species that
had been spotted the previous day.