Great festivals & events for celebrating spring in Ontario’s Southwest.
Looking to get outside after a long, dreary winter and celebrate spring’s arrival in a whole new way? This spring, take advantage of the fact that you’re just a short drive from one of the world’s best locations for experiencing the spring migration of up to 270 species of birds.
If the thought of bird watching brings to mind visions of sitting silently for hours on end waiting for something interesting to fly in front of your binoculars, these six fun festivals will quickly change your mind. From family-friendly programming, to guided hikes, educational workshops, competitive challenges, and special guests like Margaret Atwood, these festivals prove that bird watching is anything but boring.
Return of the Swans Festival
Old Thedford Bog
March 10 – March 18, 2018
Grand Bend attracts Tundra swans by the thousands to feed and rest in the natural 'staging' place known as the Thedford Bog before continuing to their summer nesting grounds in the high arctic. The Lambton Heritage Museum celebrates this chance to see so many birds in their natural habitat with The Return of the Swans Festival. After watching the swans rest and feed in the fields directly behind the museum, go inside to learn more about these amazing birds with great exhibits and excellent family activities.
Learn to Bird 101
Bird Studies Canada
May 12, 2018
From warblers, thrushes, and sparrows to waterfowl, spring migration provides an excellent opportunity to view a variety of birds as they make their way north. Come learn about these amazing migrants with Bird Studies Canada’s National Conservation Outreach Manager Jody Allair. This event is free, and is a great fit for anyone who has thought about taking up birding but didn’t know where to start!
Festival of Birds
Point Pelee National Park
May 1 – May 21, 2018
Point Pelee National Park is one of the world’s premiere birding destinations, and this two-week festival attracts birders from across the globe. Whether you’re an avid birder or just looking to see what this popular pastime is all about, there is a wide range of guided hikes and workshops offered to suit a wide variety of experience levels and specific interests.
Join Bird Studies Canada for two available special Lunch & Learn programs as well as two available guided intro to birding hikes. Be sure to sign-up early as these sessions fill up fast!
Festival of Flight
Rondeau Provincial Park
May 1 – 20, 2018
The songbirds are on the move and Rondeau is once again filled with bursts of colour and song! Be sure to drop by the Visitor Centre for the most recent sightings and stay full and caffeinated at the Birder's Breakfast and Lunch put on by the Friends of Rondeau.
Shore and Songbird Celebration
Hillman Marsh Conservation Area
May 1 – 22, 2018
Over one hundred species of birds use Hillman as a migration stopover, and attending this annual celebration is a great way to see them for yourself. Watch for the nesting pair of Bald eagles as well as frequently spotted annual rarities such as the Yellow-headed Blackbird, Willet, Marbled Godwit, Eurasian Wigeon, Glossy Ibis and Eastern Kingbird. A birding trail borders 87 acres of unique Shorebird Habitat where water levels are actively managed to create mudflats, providing outstanding viewing opportunities. Event occurs Wednesdays through Mondays from May 1st - May 22th.
Pelee Island Heritage Centre
May 11 – 13, 2018
Whether you’re a fan of birds or a lover of books, this event is sure to please. Beloved Canadian author, Margaret Atwood brings award-winning authors this Pelee Island festival each spring for an incredibly popular banquet. This year’s featured author is Madeleine Thien. The weekend also features the Botham Cup Bird Race, a 24-hour “green” bird race, and rally where teams have 24 hours to spot as many of the 311 species of birds that visit Pelee Island. The winners take home the coveted Rubber Chicken Award, presented by Margaret Atwood at the Springsong Banquet.