Birders count: Festival registrants dip, but annual event still a success

HARLINGEN — The 22nd Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival last November wasn’t as high-flying as the previous year, but event organizers say they are satisfied with attendance.

The numbers showed official registrants were down from 620 to 590 year-over-year, and Texas registrants dropped from 245 to 204.

But Sue Griffin, chair of the birding festival, said “any time we have over 550, we count it as a success.”

Griffin noted that last year’s festival offered more field trips than the previous year, 91 to 84, and of those trips, 42 were sold out. That 46 percent sellout number beat the previous year’s 30 percent.

“We have people that do not resister and come with spouses, we have people who don’t register ahead of time but wait until they get here, and we have people who come but they don’t go on field trips, so they don’t feel the need to register,” Griffin said.

The festival was certainly a success for the Valley, and Griffin said she was sure the event met its annual economic impact for the area of around $300,000.

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RGV Birding Fest Numbers
  2015 2014
Total registrants:  590 620
U.S. registrants: 566 604
Non-U.S.: 24 16
No. of states: 42 41
Texas registrants: 204  245
Texas cities: 66  72
Seats sold: 2,051 1,931
Trips sold out: 42 25
Max trips: 91 84

Source: Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival