Save the Dates!

2019 Festival of Birds: May 1 to 20, 2019.

Welcome to Point Pelee National Park, the place where birds and birders meet. Share the excitement of birding at Point Pelee in 2019: 

  • Learn about shorebirds
  • Explore the world of urban birding
  • Complete the 100 Species Challenge
Calendar of events coming soon.

Welcome Birders (2018)!

We are marking a very special milestone this year - our 100th anniversary. Birders played an integral part in the establishment of Point Pelee National Park in 1918. As we celebrate the return of the songbirds this May, we are also reflecting on more than a century of birding in the park and surrounding area.

As we’ve reviewed on the works of ornithologists like Percy Taverner we see common themes that persist today - the species and migration patterns that excited those first ornithologists are the same as what brings so many people to experience Point Pelee today.

In the spirit of the centennial we chose a bird of the year that has come to represent Point Pelee - the Northern Cardinal. Described as the “war birds” by locals, Point Pelee was the first place this species was recorded in Canada and continues to be a favourite bird in the park today.

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

Festival Calendar

Check out the calendar for more information.


A graphic showing two birds and the number 100 to promote the 100 Species Challenge.

100 Species Challenge

We’re taking the 100 Species Challenge to a whole new level this year. As part of Point Pelee 100 we’ve introduced 3 different levels to the challenge: Gold for 100 species in a day, Silver for 100 species in 2 days, and Bronze for 100 species in 3 or more days. Get out and start checking off your list.

  • Gold Level - See 100 species in a day and earn the exclusive Prothonotary Warbler pin. Only 200 produced.
  • Silver Level - Need a little more time - find 100 species in two days and you’ll receive the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher pin. Only 400 produced.
  • Bronze Level - Take your time and find your 100 species in 3 or more days and you’ll get the Carolina wren pin. Only 600 produced.
A graphic showing some birds sitting on the arms and back of a collapsible lawn chair to promote The Big Sit.  

The Big Sit

May 12, 5 am to 5 pm

In the tradition of Taverner and Swales and more recently Wormington and Ridout, the Big Sit is back in 2018. From 5 am to 5 pm on Saturday, May 12, 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.

Three birders on a hike studying a guide book. 

Birding Hikes

Join an experienced hike leader for a two-hour hike you’ll never forget.

  • Morning and afternoon hikes leave from the Visitor Centre and focus on songbirds.
  • North End hikes begin at the Northwest Beach parking lot and catch up with migrating songbirds later in the day.
  • Twilight hikes explore the DeLaurier Trail, with the chance to view the courtship display of the American Woodcock.

Cost: $20/person
Maximum 12 people/hike

All hikes require pre-registration.
Register at or call 519.326.6173 or 1.888.707.3533

Hikes are administered by the Friends of Point Pelee and generously supported by Quest Nature Tours.

A bed of small white waterleaf flowers spread across the forest floor.  

Wildflower Walks

Wednesday to Sunday, 1:30 pm, Visitor Centre, free, no registration required

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

A close up photo of a child using binoculars.  

Beginner Birding Hikes: Family Birding Hike

May 5, 2 pm, Visitor Centre, free

Register at 519-322-2365 or

Is your family interested in birds? Do you want to learn more about birdwatching? Join Jody Allair from Bird Studies Canada for this family birding hike. You’ll learn how to use binoculars and get out on a trail to look for birds. Fun for the entire family.

A close up photo of a woman using binoculars.

Beginner Birding Hikes: Intro to Birding Hike

May 6, 9 am, Visitor Centre, free

Register at 519-322-2365 or

Have you always wanted to try birding, but didn’t know where to start? This hike is a perfect place to start. Join Jody Allair from Bird Studies Canada for this birding hike for the beginner. Learn how to use binoculars, how to look for birds and how to start identifying them.

Hikes generously supported by Southwest Ontario Tourism.

Three sandpiper birds along the shore.

Shorebird Celebration

May 1- 21 (except Mondays), 3 pm to 5 pm, Hillman Marsh Conservation Area

Cost: Hillman Marsh Conservation Area entrance fee, no registration required

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.

 Ornithologist Percy Taverner studying a bird he is holding.

Lunch and Learn

Daily at noon

Grab your lunch and enjoy presentations from Parks Canada, Bird Studies Canada, Quest Nature Tours, and other experts in the Visitor Centre theatre. The sessions will focus on various topics, from birding basics to bird song identification.

Check the calendar for today’s topic.