The Department sponsors and/or participates in several different festivals which promote wildlife viewing. These events support the Agency's mission of providing opportunities for Virginians to enjoy wildlife. Many of these festivals bring money and jobs into local communities, while educating visitors about the importance of wildlife and wildlife habitat.
Virginia Birding Festivals
- Winter Wildlife Festival
- Eastern Shore Birding Festival
- Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival
- Mountain Lake Migratory Bird Festival
For a directory of events across Virginia, visit the Virginia Tourism Corporation Web page.
For a directory of birding festivals across the United States, visit the American Birding Association Web page.
Why Birding Festivals
In 2006, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there were 47 million birders in the United States. They made $31 Billion in retail purchases to support their birding activities. Their travels created an overall economic output of $44 Billion. This all translated into over 860,000 jobs being created. When you consider that a large festival can bring into a community large numbers of visitors who need lodging, gasoline, meals, etc., this creates a large boon for local communities that support festivals.
Not only do festivals support local communities, but that support can translate into conservation. By preserving natural habitats that attract birds and other wildlife, communities can reap the rewards of their conservation efforts. In one weekend, the Eastern Shore Birding Festival brings over $100,000 into the rural economy of Northampton County, Virginia. In Port Aransas, Texas, birders bring over $5 million annually into a community of just over 3,300 people. Birding festivals are a win-win for the Department, for birders, and for local communities.