aba events

ABA Birding Rally — South Florida & Dry Tortugas and Keys Extension

Photos by Mark Hedden

Birding in South Florida in the spring is a bit like playing a slot machine rigged in your favor. You don’t know exactly how it’s going to work out, but odds are something good will happen.

Between the Everglades, the surrounding agricultural areas, the Florida Bay ecosystem, the upper Keys, and various parks and neighborhoods in Miami, it is hard to not see great birds.

      The most reliable birds in South Florida are the resident species, such as Wood Stork, White-crowned Pigeon, Roseate Spoonbill, Purple Gallinule, Swallow-tailed Kites and Black-bellied Whistling Duck. But there are a number of resident species that give you a sense of jackpot when you find them – American Flamingo, Snail Kite, Mangrove Cuckoo, Cable Sable Seaside Sparrow, Short-tailed Hawk, Shiny Cowbird and Smooth-billed Ani among them.

Miami’s urban areas are the home to large populations of escaped exotic birds, many of which are ABA countable, including Spot-breasted Oriole, Common Myna, Nanday Parakeet, Green Parakeet, and Red-whiskered Bulbul.

Late April is also the northbound migration. Many neotropical migrants come up from the Caribbean or fly across the Gulf of Mexico and South Florida is crucial stopover habitat for them. Dozens of species of songbirds pass through the area – warblers, thrush, buntings and grosbeaks, as well as a handful of raptors.

And then there are the Caribbean strays. Almost every spring something shows up. La Sagra’s Flycatcher, Western Spindalis, Key West Quail-dove, Cuban Vireo, Loggerhead Kingbird or, well, pretty much anything.

We will spend time birding in the Everglades

No matter what, birding in South Florida is always an adventure.

Registration Closed

When: April 26-30, 2018

Where: We will base ourselves in Homestead, central to Everglades National Park, Miami, and the Upper Keys.

How much: $1195 per person, double occupancy. Single Supplement $250.

Keys & Dry Tortugas Extension

Key West and Dry Tortugas extension

Keep on Birding with us in the Upper Keys, stopping at sites in Islamorada and Marathon to seek out migrants and local specialties, such as Mangrove Cuckoo, White-crowned Pigeons and Roseate Tern, two well-known Key West migrant traps.

Then then we will venture off to the Dry Tortugas National Park, 70 miles west of Key West. The park is home to the massive Civil War-era Fort Jefferson, as well as the only North American breeding colonies of Masked Booby, Magnificent Frigatebird, Sooty Tern, and Brown Noddy.

Fort Jefferson is also often a major stopover for migrants and rarities, with sightings in recent years of such species as Loggerhead Kingbird, Black Noddy, Red-billed Tropicbird, and the Caribbean subspecies of Short-eared Owl. You won’t want to miss it!

When: April 30 to May 2, 2018

How Much: $900 per person double occupancy $150 single supplement

Click here to REGISTER

ABA Birding Rally – Delaware Bayshore Shorebird Spectacle

Experience one of North America’s great birding and wildlife spectacles as thousands of breeding-plumaged shorebirds gorge on the eggs of Horseshoe Crabs, one of the oddest. and oldest, creatures on Earth. Nearby wetlands and forests are bursting with breeding birds and migrants, making for a wonderful long birding weekend!

Shorebirds galore along the Delaware Bay shoreline.

  May 17 – 20, 2018

Where:  We’ll stay at the comfortable Virden Conference Center on the edge of the quaint seaside town of Lewes, Delaware.

How Much:$895.00 per person Single Supplement $200.00

Skill level: New to Birding to Been Birding Forever – All Welcome!

Register Here!  

Contact: Email [email protected] with any questions you may have about this rally.Or call 1-800-850-2473 ext. 653 or 302-838-3653

What is a Birding Rally?

The month of May along the Delaware Bayshore brings enormous numbers of horseshoe crabs along the beach to lay their millions of eggs, and it is also the time for hundreds of thousands of migrating shorebirds to feast upon those eggs as they refuel prior to their last 3000 mile non-stop flight to their breeding grounds.

This evolutionary spectacle has to be seen to be believed! Some years are better than others…thanks to conservation efforts, it has been getting better every year!

Migrating shorebirds  feast upon a bountiful supply of Horseshoe Crab eggs, willingly fattening themselves up for the breeding season.

The Delaware Bayshore is the critical stopover habitat for northbound shorebirds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway. They stop here to feed on abundant and protein-rich Horseshoe Crab eggs, in one of the more unusual and wonderful natural spectacles anywhere. We’ll enjoy great, close studies of thousands of shorebirds of 20 or so species, most wearing their gorgeous breeding colors.

And while shorebirds along the beach are the star attraction, they are just the beginning.  Within a short driving distance of two acclaimed National Wildlife Refuges, Bombay Hook and Prime Hook, and thousands of acres of mixed hardwood and pine forests, participants will experience the rich diversity of bird species found during May in this unique birding bonanza.

There is a distinct southern element to the avifauna here, with species like Summer and Scarlet tanagers, Worm-eating, Kentucky, Prothonotary, and Yellow-throated warblers, and Brown-headed Nuthatch.

We will pick the best days for shorebirding and when the tides and winds aren’t as favorable we will head out for some forest and field birding. Top the birding weekend off with a traditional Delaware Style Blue Crab Picking session. (optional)

Bird photography opportunities are excellent throughout.

The ABA is headquartered nearby, and we are always excited to welcome birders to our home area at its birding peak. Expect a warm welcome, exciting birding, and an opportunity to see behind the scenes of this natural phenomenon in a way that few visitors do. See you in May!

When the tides and the weather conditions are right male Horseshoe Crabs follow the females to the shore where she lays her eggs.

The Horseshoe crab eggs provide a veritable smorgasbord for all the creatures along the shoreline.



BIRD CUBA with the ABA!

September 10–20, 2018 • with ABA Host Nate Swick

Cost: $4,490–11 days, 10 Nights

Limited to 8 Participants each trip.                                   

YES! It is still possible to go to Cuba in 2018! 

Join us on a magical journey to the land of the enchanting Cuban Tody, the eerie sounding Cuban Crows, the ridiculously tiny Bee Hummingbird, and so much more. Come and enjoy the miniature Silver palms of Cayo Coco and bird the land that Hemingway used as a getaway! Enjoy getting to know the birds with Arturo Kirkconnell, the author of the Field Guide to the Birds of Cuba, and meet ornithological legend Orlando Garrido, a world famous tennis player turned birder and field guide author.

This Cuban tour provides you with a great opportunity to see all possible Cuban endemic birds. Of course, we will take in all the birds—among them a goodly number of Caribbean endemics. We’ll look for Gundlach’s Hawk, Bee Hummingbird (the world’s smallest bird!), Cuban Trogon, Cuban Tody, Cuban Parakeet, Zapata Wren, and 18 other birds found nowhere else on Earth.

We will also get to experience the local Cuban culture, and have an opportunity to explore Havana and other interesting locations. Our friendly Cuban bird guides offer a rich local perspective on Cuban life, in addition to their extensive knowledge of the country’s birds and wildlife. This is a trip that you don’t want to put off!

Check out the detailed itinerary here.

To Book by Phone: Call Charles toll free at 888-203-7464, ext. 912.

For more information contact our partners [email protected].

Interested but have questions? Give us your contact information and Liz will be delighted to answer your queries!


Thailand: Birding with a Camera Tour

The American Birding Association, in partnership with Tropical Birding Tours, invites you to join the ABA Thailand ‘BwC’ Tour. Thailand is one of the finest birding destinations on Earth and holds some of Asia’s coolest looking birds: glittering pheasants, gargantuan hornbills, luminous leafbirds, vivid sunbirds, and languid laughing-thrushes. This trip explores the northeastern mountains on the Myanmar border and mid-elevation forests of central Thailand. In addition to its world-class cuisine and excellent tourist infrastructure this makes an ideal introduction to Asia, but equally, it is a destination even an experienced Oriental birder will love. Wildlife is secretive in Thailand, but we might see elephants, deer, and plenty of primates. Extensions to Cambodia (14–18 Feb pre-tour), including the World Heritage Site Angkor Wat, and the Malay Peninsula (1–7 March post-tour) are on offer for those that want the complete SE Asia experience.

18 February – 1 March 2019
$3750 per person in double or twin room
$4100 per person in single room

CLICK HERE for detailed itinerary, trip considerations, leader information, and booking >>

In partnership with Tropical Birding Tours, we invite you to join the ABA Thailand Birding with a Camera (BwC) Tour.

Orange-bellied Leafbird

The BwC tour concept is a perfect hybrid trip for people that enjoy photographing birds as much as they enjoy seeing and watching them. We balance finding and watching as many birds as possible, while also trying to take great photos of them. We still target endemics and other specialties, but if the opportunity presents itself, we will quickly switch over to photography. We will also try to see and photograph other animals if any are around. The idea is that you see and capture as many great images of a wide variety of subjects as possible. The very low participant to leader ratio (8:1) on this tour makes it a high-quality product, with lots of personal attention.

Tropical Birding was responsible for the very successful ABA Ecuador conference in 2006. A huge part of that success was our attention to detail, calling each and every participant to gauge their expectations and place them in a group that met their needs. We will have ‘tracks’ that will vary from serious hard-core lister to general birder to serious photographer and your leaders will tweak the intensity and activities to ensure you get the most out of your trip to Asia. We will also find out if people prefer to
learn photography or just do it; what gear they likely have for the trip; and their general fitness. We can then put people into the best group that fits their interest and focus.

Depending on overall numbers and focus, we may arrange for separate tracks to travel around the country in varying order. But of course, everyone will visit each locality mentioned on the itinerary. Either way, we all start and end in Bangkok. And groups will overlap during the middle of the tour for the days in Doi Ang Khang, where there will be plenty of time for socializing.

CLICK HERE for detailed itinerary, trip considerations, leader information, and booking >>


ABA Birding Rally — Aloha! Hawaii

Photo by: Jack Jeffrey

When:  September 10-18, 2018 SOLD OUT!!
Where: Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island of Hawaii
How Much: $5955.00 per person sharing — Single Supplement $950.00
Registration Limit: 23 people

For the Complete Itinerary click ABA Birding Rally: Aloha Hawaii 2018 to download the PDF. 

Interested in a 2019 trip?

Click here to leave your contact information.

Aloha! Join the ABA and our local hosts, Hawaii Forest and Trail, for our very first ABA Birding Rally in spectacular Hawaii! We will bird on three islands: Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island, seeing many of the spectacular endemic and other birds that are among the newest additions of the ABA Area.

From the stunning scarlet Iiwi to the iconic Nene, to migrants and seabirds like Bristle-thighed Curlew, Laysan Albatross, and White-tailed Tropicbird, Hawaii hosts a treasure trove of spectacular birds and offers abundant scenic beauty and cultural interest.

Our itinerary is designed to give you an excellent sampling of the birding and other charms of the Aloha State at a reasonable price and enjoyable pace. A special highlight will be participating in the 3rd annual Hawaii Island Festival of Birds, where we will be in the company of many of the most passionate and knowledgeable of Hawaii’s birders and conservationists, both in the field and out. 

The beauty of Hawaii is reason enough to visit and as birders we will be privy to a deeper more intense beauty than most. Come to the islands and meet the omnipresent Goddess of Fire, Pele, and let the continuously growing landscape lead you into a colorful history of man, birds, volcanoes, and ocean.

Join us on this most historic ABA Birding Rally. Mahalo!