Where Everything’s Greater, Even the Kiskadees

By Hugh Powell

As Vikings dream of Valhalla, birders dream of South Texas. Boisterous kiskadees, glow-in-the-dark jays, goofy chachalacas, and kingfishers of unusual size (extra large and extra small). Every morning, a South Texas specialty; every evening, a heaping serving of Tex-Mex cooking. Given all that, I’m sure you can imagine the anguish and heartache I feel at the prospect of visiting Harlingen, Texas, this week to attend the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival.***

The mornings will be spent birding; in the afternoons Sam Crowe and I will be staffing the Lab’s booth at the festival. Joining us from time to time, when they’re not chasing rarities, will be eBird co-leader Chris Wood and Macaulay Library staffer and Nikon Pro team member Jessie Barry. Chris and Jessie will be conducting birding quizzes to keep you sharp as well as offering advice about using eBird. If you’re coming to the conference, we hope you’ll stop by.

I’ll try to sneak away for a few of the talks that will be going on each afternoon. First up on Thursday afternoon will be a seminar on birding and blogging, presented by Birdchick herself. Which makes me wonder: How many bloggers are attending this conference? Leave a note and a link in Comments and I’ll be sure to look for you.

For those of you who can’t make it, I’ll post updates about what’s going on and which ridiculously colored birds we’ve been seeing lately. Plus, check the blog sidebar during the day for a running commentary via the Lab’s Twitter feed. A check-list from past festivals lists some 260 species, so there should be lots to report!

***Yes, I know, it is a tough job. But someone’s got to do it.

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