16th Annual Shorebird Festival at Jamaica Bay

08/14/2021 11:00 AM - 03:00 PM ET


  • Free



Saturday, August 14, 11am - 3pm
With American Littoral Society, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, National Parks Service

Join us for a celebration of Jamaica Bay's shorebirds! August is the perfect time to explore the diversity and abundance of NYC's shorebirds, particularly at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. This year the festival will include guided bird walks around the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and activities outside of the refuge visitor center. With expert guides like Don Riepe, Kevin Karlson, and Lloyd Spitalnik, as well as family-friendly walks, this festival will be fun for everyone. RSVP to let us know you're coming and receive updates including the event schedule. No limit. Free (suggested donation $15). 

Click here for a Google map of the festival location.


Schedule of Events

11:30am - 3pm, Birdwatching at the East Pond, South End
Expert bird guides Don Riepe, Kevin Karlson, and Lloyd Spitalnik will be on-hand at the south end of Jamaica Bay’s East Pond for some top-notch shorebird spotting throughout the day. Leave as a group at 11:30am, or strike out on your own at any time. Check in with festival staff for trail guidance if setting out on your own. Sturdy footwear is recommended.

Please note: Due to trail conditions we will not have a walk to the north end of the East Pond this year.


1pm - 2pm, Tour the West Pond Living Shoreline
Tour the new living shoreline under construction at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Learn more about this innovative project at www.jbrpc.org/westpond. The restored shoreline will create over 8-acres of habitat that will protect the West Pond from climate change and extreme weather. Walk the construction zone and learn about the community efforts to save this valuable resource. This tour is limited to 30, those interested should check in with a Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy staff member at 12:50pm outside the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.


11am - 3pm, Swarovski Optik Booth
Visit Swarovski Optik’s booth for a chance to test out the latest offerings from this world-renowned manufacturer of premium quality binoculars, spotting scopes, and other optic equipment.


11am - 3pm, Tabling and Activities by Program Partners
Stop by throughout the day to learn from partners like NYC Plover Project all about shorebirds and Jamaica Bay itself. 


11am - 12pm and 1pm - 2pm, Family Bird Walks
This year we have two opportunities for families to enjoy birdwatching! These birding tours will follow the paths around the visitor center for an easy birding experience ideal for families. Tours will leave at 11am and 1pm from outside the front of the visitor center.


Just for Kids!

10am - 11am, Ranger's Choice, Jr. Ranger Guided Walk 
Join a Park Ranger and fellow junior hopefuls on a guided-walk through Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Fill in your own Junior Ranger Activity Book while you search for shorebirds and activate your senses. All ages welcome, (ages 5-11 encouraged). 


11am, Junior Ranger Group Swear-In Ceremony 
Come one, come all, it's time to become an official Junior Ranger of Gateway National Recreation Area. Present your completed activity book to join in the ceremony and earn a badge to take home! All ages welcome, (ages 5-11 encouraged).


12pm, Bird Olympics
After years of waiting, the time has come to demonstrate feats of strength, agility, and stamina as only birds can! Compete for take-home medals while learning about the amazing ways that birds overcome their obstacles.  (All ages welcome, ages 5-11 encouraged).


2pm, Make-Your-Own Puppet (Show)
Join the Rangers in creating a puppet show right before your eyes. Begin by building a puppet of your very own using craft supplies and imagination, then help it come alive with an original puppet show starring. . . you! Rangers will guide participants in construction and storytelling, but we need your help to dream up something unique. All ages welcome, (ages 5-11 encouraged).


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