PORT RICHEY — The Nature Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival will provide the wind beneath the wings of birding enthusiasts for four days next week.
The March 20-23 event will celebrate the 2014 spring migration, Pasco tourism officials explain.
The expanded festival will include programs, activities and tours to several Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail sites in Hernando, Pasco and Citrus counties.
Featured in the 2011 movie comedy “The Big Year,” birder Greg Miller will lead field trips to areas and share his expertise. He will serve as the featured speaker.
Other trips are scheduled to Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, Crews Lake Park, Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park, Fort Cooper State Park and Withlacoochee State Forest.
Participants could catch glimpses of Florida scrub-jays, limpkins, red-cockaded woodpeckers, Bachman’s sparrows, bald eagles, gopher tortoises, fox squirrels, butterflies and other wildlife.
The expanded format will open up shore bird viewing and many other coastal species.
Some Pasco tours already are full, such as “Best of Pasco Uplands and Wetlands” on March 22 and “Black Rails” on March 23.
Sponsors of the festival include the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Audubon Florida, Citrus County Tourism Development Council, Hernando County Tourism Bureau and Pasco County Tourism Development Council.
The tri-county event also promises a variety of ecotourism excursions, exhibits, demonstrators, vendors and other educational opportunities perfect for the whole family, Pasco tourism official Ed Caum elaborated.
Advance registration is required for general admission, all field trips, keynotes and programs.
Go online to Naturecoastbirdingfestival.com for registration and program information. Also like the Facebook page at facebook.com/NatureCoastBirdingandWildlifeFestival .
Registration using a mobile device or tablet is not available for this year’s festival.
People having difficulty with the registration process can call Andy Wraithmell at (850) 488-9453(850) 488-9453.