Welcome to Point Pelee National Park, the place where birds and birders meet. Join us in celebrating spring migration at the 2019 Festival of Birds: May 1 to 20, 2019.

  • Learn how to create bird friendly gardens
  • Explore the world of birding with your family
  • Complete the 100 Species Challenge
  • Discover the world of urban birding and the best birding locations in Ontario

3-Day Birding Pass

Allows entry to Point Pelee National Park and Hillman Marsh Conservation Area on 3 consecutive days. Available at the park entrance kiosk.

  • Group/Family: $43.40
  • Individual: $27.60

Hours

  • Park Hours: May 1 to May 20, 5 am to 10 pm
  • Visitor Centre and Nature Nook Gift Store: May 1 to May 20, 6 am to 5 pm
  • Shuttle to the Tip: May 1 to May 20, 6 am to 8 pm

Calendar

Download a printable version of the Festival Calendar from the Friends of Point Pelee Festival of Birds website (PDF).

Special Programs

The Big Sit – May 11, 2019, from 5 am to 5 pm
 

In the tradition of Taverner and Swales and more recently Wormington and Ridout, the Big Sit returns in 2019. From 5 am to 5 pm on Saturday, May 11, the Ontario Field Ornithologists' Celebrity Birders will be stationed at the Tip, counting all the species they can for their fundraising bird-a-thon. Join Tom Hince, Paul Pratt and Bruce Di Labio and help spot some birds, drop in for a chat or make a pledge - keep an eye out for the "three old dudes" in comfy chairs. All proceeds from the bird-a-thon supports Birds Studies Canada and the Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Family Birding Hike – May 5, 2019, 2 pm

Is your family interested in birds? Do you want to learn more about birdwatching? Join the Essex County Field Naturalists for this family birding hike. The program will start with a short intro to birding program in the theatre.  Afterwards, you'll learn how to use binoculars and get out on a trail to look for birds.  Fun for the entire family.

Cost: Free with admission

Register: Call 519-322-2365 or email pc.pelee.info.pc@canada.ca

Date: May 5, 2019

Time: 2 pm

Where: Meet at the Visitor Centre

Nature Drawing and Journaling Workshop – May 4, 2019, 2 pm

Have you wanted to keep a nature journal and looking for how to start?  Do you want to keep a journal but think you can’t draw? Join Sarah Rupert, a Parks Canada interpreter and artist. Discover why keeping a natural journal is important, how to get started, and some tips and tricks to improve your drawing and observation skills.

Bring a notebook and pencil. Program will have indoor and outdoor components.

Cost: Free with admission

Register: Call 519-322-2365 or email pc.pelee.info.pc@canada.ca

Date: May 4, 2019

Time: 2 pm

Where: Meet at the Visitor Centre classroom

Daily Programs

Lunch & Learn Sessions – Daily at noon

At noon, bring you lunch to the Visitor Centre theatre, where our experts will present informative programs. The sessions will focus on various topics, from birding basics to bird song identification. Check the calendar. Topics this year include:

Songbirds – Beyond Warblers - Sarah Rupert

There are many different species of songbirds beyond warblers. You'll have the chance to learn more about these other songsters that are migrating through Point Pelee in the spring. From vireos to orioles, we have it covered.

Program provided by Parks Canada

Birding 101 – Sarah Rupert

Are you new to birding - this is the program for you! Sarah will outline the basics of bird identification, key tools and secrets to successful birding at Point Pelee.

Program provided by Parks Canada

Sparrow ID – Sarah Rupert

Sparrows are one of the hardest groups of birds to learn. Do these little brown birds leave you scratching your head? Sarah will help you sort them out.

Program provided by Parks Canada

Warbler ID – Sarah Rupert

Finding things a little confusing in the warbler capital of Canada? Sarah will help you unravel the mysteries of warbler identification and share her tips and tricks for the field.

Program provided by Parks Canada

Birding by Ear – Justin Peter

Bird vocalizations offer a whole new dimension to finding birds and identifying them! Join Justin to learn the basics of 'birding by ear'. He will share some techniques to get our ears and minds attuned to bird sounds. We'll then perform some fun exercises together to put our skills to the test.

Program provided by Quest Nature Tours

Shorebird ID – Jean Iron

This workshop covers 28 regularly occurring spring migrant and breeding shorebirds, plus 8 rarer species that migrate through southern Ontario to their Arctic breeding grounds. The focus will be on Point Pelee area shorebirds. This workshop is loaded with tips to sharpen identification skills, and you will increase your knowledge of shorebird molts, plumages and aging. Learn to identify shorebirds by using diagnostic field marks supplemented by jizz or giss - general impression of size and shape. Test your new knowledge by doing interactive shorebird quizzes. Find out the best spots to see shorebirds in spring.

Program provided by Quest Nature Tours.

Hawk ID – Chris Earley

Learn the basics of raptor identification, both perched and in flight.

Program provided by Quest Nature Tours (May 14)

Birding in Essex County – Paul Pratt 

Essex County has many hidden birding hotspots.  Join Paul Pratt and learn about some of the best places outside Point Pelee National Park to go birding.

Program provided by Parks Canada.

Gull ID – Justin Peter

Gull identification can be daunting when you first start out, and it can seem easier to avoid looking at them entirely! However, gulls offer a treasure trove of entertainment for those who dare to venture into gull identification. After this presentation, you'll have the tools to begin confidently identifying gulls so that you can approach this group of birds with enthusiasm!

Program provided by Quest Nature Tours.

Monarch Migration – Terry Whitman

Monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico and follow many of the same "pathways" as raptors. When the raptors slow down at Rosetta McClain, guess what we do?  We start tagging monarchs!  Our tagging season runs from August 15th into early October or until we run out of tags or migrating monarchs!  Over the last 5 years we have tagged 5000 monarchs at Rosetta McClain gardens and have had about 40 recoveries in Mexico.  Each one tells a story!  Come listen to the research we are doing at Rosetta McClain on monarch butterflies which includes classifying, weighing and taking the monarchs temperature!  Is there a connection between monarchs and raptors?  You'll see!"

Urban Birding – David Darrell-Lambert

Learn about the ins and outs of urban birding with David Darrell-Lambert, author of “Birdwatching London”.  You’ll quickly realize that you can bird anywhere – even a large city like London, England has excellent opportunities for birding.

Nature Photography – Tim Arthur

Are you starting out with nature photography and looking for some tips and tricks?  Join Ontario naturalist Tim Arthur for a presentation and learn how he has captured some amazing images of Ontario wildlife and that you can too

The Best Places to Bird in Ontario – Mike and Ken Burrell

Mike and Ken will introduce you to the top 30 birding locations in Ontario. They share information about hard to find species and their experiences birding along the way. Mike and Ken will be on hand afterwards to sign copies of their new book “Best Places to Bird in Ontario”.

Berries, Bugs and Seeds: How to Create Native Plant Habitat for Birds – Lorraine Johnson

In this illustrated talk, author Lorraine Johnson discusses how to attract, feed and protect birds in our home landscapes through biodiverse plantings of native trees, shrubs and flowers that are easy to maintain and beautiful to look at.

Wildflower Walks – Wednesday to Sunday, 1:30 pm

Give your neck a break.  Stroll on a trail and learn about the beautiful wildflowers that bloom in May.

When: Wednesday to Sunday

Time: 1:30 pm

Where: Meet at the Visitor Centre

Shorebird Celebration – Daily (except Mondays), from 3 pm to 5 pm

Want to learn the basics of shorebird identification? Hillman Marsh Conservation area provides one of the best locations for shorebird observation in Essex County during spring migration.  Join volunteers from the Ontario Field Ornithologists at the Hillman Marsh Shorebird Cell, managed by the Essex Region Conservation Authority.

When: May 1- 20, 2019 (except Mondays)

Time: 3 pm to 5 pm

Hillman Marsh Conservation Area

Cost: Entrance fee

No registration required

100 Species Challenge
100 Species Challenge

One of the best parts about birding at Point Pelee during the Festival of Birds is the diversity of species you can see during your visit. On a really good day, with a little hard work, 100 species is not an impossible goal. Why not take the 100 species challenge while you’re visiting – not only will you have fun, you will also receive a limited edition 2019 challenge pin.

The rules are simple – count the number of bird species you see during your visit to Point Pelee.

Birders Breakfast and Lunch – May 1 - 20, 2019, 7 am to 2 pm

Where: South side of the Visitor Centre

The Friends of Point Pelee Volunteers wake up at the crack of dawn to provide daily food service for our guests that flock to rest and feed at the Visitor's Centre throughout the Festival of Birds. Proceeds support the Friends of Point Pelee and Point Pelee National Park.

Breakfast offers a continental style selection of hot and cold beverages, bagels and muffins. Locally made "Birdseed" cookies and donuts are baked fresh and delivered each morning! 7:00 am through 10:30 am. You can smell the BBQ cooking by 10:30 am ready to serve local all-beef hotdogs and sausages. Vegetarian choice will be available too!

Lunch is served until 2 pm.