(St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana) – St. Bernard is for the birds.
Lovers of birds, that is!
If you love birds, mark your calendar for April 30th and May 1st. That’s when the St. Bernard Bird Festival is happening. In previous years, the event has meant bird tagging, up-close demonstrations and exhibitions, and big crowds. This year, it will be more intimate.
Two birding excursions will depart from Los Islenos Musem Complex on Bayou Road. The first will leave at 9 am, and the second at 11:30 am. They will be led by experienced birding guides.
The founder of the festival (which is now in its seventh year), Tony Fernandez, gave WGNO reporter Stephanie Oswald, and photographer Jeffrey Kent, a preview of what might be seen in the skies during the festival.
“It’s not gonna be just one rush of excitement, you’re gonna have many rushes of excitement!” says Tony.
He explained that the peak migration season is March through May, and it’s also the time when the birds wear their mating colors!
St. Bernard is located in the perfect place for a pit stop: birds rest and refuel, on their way from Central and South America, to spots farther north.
In order to attract the neotropical migrants that fly north, Tony has planted close to 100 mulberry trees on his property.
“If it has feathers, it eats and loves to eat mulberries. When they’re ripe, they’re black, and you don’t see many black ones, you know why?” says Tony.
“Because the birds are eating them!” replies Stephanie.
“Exactly, as soon as they turn black!” laughs Tony. Tree after tree, feasting was underway
In just a couple of hours, Tony and the WGNO team spotted 10 different neotropical migrants, including the festival mascot: the rose-breasted grosbeak.
You can create your own birding adventure any time of year. All you need is patience, and a slice of nature, such as St. Bernard State Park.
So flock to St. Bernard Parish, and answer the call of the wild.