• 61 South Main Street Farmington, Utah 84025
  • M-F 8am to 5pm


To increase awareness and conservation of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem through education and nature tourism.

SAVE THE DATE : 26th Great Salt Lake Bird Festival May 16-19, 2024

Welcome to the 26th Annual Great Salt Lake Bird Festival

Many Thanks to our Festival Committee: Kristal Blessett – Chair, Jessica Merrill – Vice Chair, Susie Jones – Co-Vice Chair, Trish Ackley, Tim Avery, John Bellmon, Adam Blundell, Valerie Frokjer, Melissa Halvorsen, Dallin Henderson, Heidi Hoven, Ashley Kijowski, Max Malmquist, and Don Paul

The Great Salt Lake Bird Festival is made possible by Discover Davis, Davis County Commission, and many community partners and industry supporters. 

Discover Davis, Utah’s Amusement Capital, is pleased to once again welcome you to the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival in beautiful northern Utah. Davis County is home to the Great Salt Lake, a major North/South migration route for more than 250 bird species, making it one of the top places for birders to catch unique glimpses of our many feathered friends. Not only is Davis County a great place to find a variety of majestic birds, but it is also the ideal location for festival goers to relax after a long day of birding. From hotels to dining and shopping to grabbing a quick breakfast before your adventure-filled day, you are in good hands as you go and Discover Davis!  

We are pleased to offer over 50 field trips and 15 workshops during this year’s festival. Our festival offerings are designed to create a unique experience with trips providing “behind the gates” access to areas that cannot be accessed by the general public. Attendees will be able to experience some of Utah’s most beautiful State Parks, State Wildlife Areas, and National Refuge areas. Utah is known for its diverse habitats, which result in a variety of birds. Vast desserts, high mountain peaks, rushing rivers, and of course, the saltiest lake in the country are sure to lure the most fascinating birds from all over the world! 

Festival headquarters will be hosted at the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Wildlife Education Center at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area. Located on the edge of the Great Salt Lake, you’ll discover a birder’s paradise at one of the most incredible natural locations in Utah. The festival will take place over the course of four days, along with pre and post-trips that will be available through festival partners. Field trips with provided transportation will meet at this breathtaking spot before heading out to experience the Wasatch Front, or if you prefer to drive yourself, many opportunities will be available for you to meet your guide on location.

Not only will birders have the opportunity to attend our unique field trips, but also have the chance to sit down for a night, socialize, enjoy dinner, and listen to the keynote address at the Davis Conference Center. Free educational workshops will also be available for participants, and of course, our annual family day, where birders of all ages are invited to learn about birds, participate in hands-on activities, and even do some birdwatching of their own. 

We hope you will join us in our 26th year for another memorable festival. Happy Birding!

*All events and schedules are subject to change based on health department policies and other unforeseen circumstances


Keynote & Guide Information Schedule & Field Trips Spotlight Bird Workshops Merchandise Family Day

Registration Opens March 25, 2024 at 10 am MT

  • Online registration is the only method of registering  
  • All tickets will be electronic in the form of a QR code
  • Purchased tickets are automatically emailed to the email address provided during checkout
  • Field trip leaders will be scanning ticket QR codes on each field trip to verify registration


Stay close to all the action by booking your festival lodging in Davis. Choose from national hotel chains and boutique rooms for a perfect festival experience.

2024 Spotlight Bird

Black-chinned Hummingbird


Essay by Ella Sorensen

There is something so familiar and unique about a hummingbird, that scarce exists the human who cannot instantly recognize it as a hummingbird when spying a tiny shape, darting between flowers, hovering briefly, probing into the flower with its long needle-like bill before zipping onto the next blossom or returning to perch on a near-by branch.  

Hummingbirds occur only in the Western Hemisphere.  The range of the Black-chinned Hummingbird includes mostly the western US and much of central and northern Mexico.  There is a suggestion that after nesting at lower elevations, some follow the emerging flowers upward as spring and summer march up the mountains before the birds depart for winter mostly in Mexico.

Adult male hummingbirds usually come adorned with brilliant iridescent chin feathers often of red, orange, or pink coloration called a gorget.  When the gorget briefly catches sunlight, it glistens and glows like an ember. But typically, as the bird darts about or sits on a perch, the gorget appears wholly black.  As its name implies, the gorget of the Black-chinned hummingbird is actually black.  Only a small band of iridescent purple feathers form a small strip at the base.  Females and juveniles display dull colors of green, white, and gray and can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from other non-adult male hummingbird species.

Photos by Scott Baxter


Unlike many bird species whose preferred habitat correlates with elevation or inches of rain, the key to productive hummingbird habitat is simply the abundance of flower nectar for energy, insects for protein and other food essentials,  and tall trees or shrubs for nesting and perching.  The Black-chinned hummingbird is a habitat generalist. In Utah, it nests commonly in deserts, mountain forests, and even in urban settings. 

Estimates of total hummingbird species in the world are around 350. Only the tyrant flycatcher family lists more species than the hummingbird family. Most numerous near the Equator, as latitudes move south or north, the number of nesting hummingbird species declines.  Only five species, including the Black-chinned, regularly nest in Utah.

The wings of a hummingbird are specially designed for prolonged hovering, flying rapidly backward, and maneuvering like a helicopter.  The origin of the name hummingbird comes from a hum produced by wing movement. Their long tongue extends far into the flower for nectar.  Hummingbirds have the highest metabolism of all vertebrates.  Their heart can beat 480 times a minute, their wings can beat 80 times per second.  Constant whirling flight can burn up to the human equivalent of 150,000 calories per day.

A hummingbird essay recorded in the late 1500s by Sahagun, a Franciscan priest,  as relayed to him by Aztec elders: 

"In the winter, it hibernates.  It inserts its bill in a tree; [hanging] there it shrinks, shrivels, molts.  And when [the tree] sprouts, when it leafs out, at this time [the hummingbirds] also grow features once again.  And when it thunders for rain, at that time it awakens, moves, and comes to life." (excerpted from Florentine Codex)

Folklore inspired long ago by keen observation of a reality! Hummingbirds are one of a few birds that have the ability when food resources are short or temperature dips, to enter for a short period into a state similar to hibernation called torpor. Hummingbird metabolism requires enormous amounts of energy. Torpor allows the hummingbird to lower physiological activity by reducing metabolism, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature and thereby reserve energy for when conditions are favorable.

The tiny Black-chinned Hummingbird, weighing little more than a copper penny, is truly among the most incredibly beautiful jewels of nature.

Festival Committee

The Great Salt Lake Bird Festival is hosted and planned by Discover Davis (Davis County Tourism and Events) with the help and guidance of expert local birders. Each year the Festival Committee volunteers dedicate many hours to planning and coordinating a top-rated experience for attendees. Thank you to our Committee for their dedication and passion for birding in Davis County, Utah and surrounding areas. The Festival's mission is to "increase awareness and conservation of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem through education and nature tourism."

Discover Davis Staff

Kristal Blessett - Tourism Events Manager
Susie Jones - Tourism Events Coordinator

Jessica Merrill - Discover Davis Tourism Director 


Volunteer Committee Members

Linking Communities

Linking Communities Update

Great Salt Lake Bird Festival is "linked" to communities in Saskatchewan, Canada and San Blas, Mexico in an effort to protect an important shorebird migration route that passes through these areas. This tri-national effort, Linking Communities, has become a model for trying to conserve birds and habitat throughout the entire range of migratory birds.


The Great Salt Lake is a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) Hemispheric site. What is a WHSRN site?  A WHSRN site is a site that has been labeled as an area of conservation importance for shorebirds. To become a hemispheric site within WHSRN there are four categories the site must have:

  1. Site/Landscapes of hemispheric importance with at least 500,000 shorebirds annually or 30% of a species’ biogeographic population: We have this number in one species alone, Wilson Phalarope
  2. Make Shorebird conservation a priority
  3. Protect and manage Shorebird habitat
  4. Keep WHSRN informed of any changes at the site
There are currently over 100 sites, in 13 countries, with more than 31 million acres of habitat being conserved.

Most of the GSL Bird Festival field trips visit Important Bird Area ( IBA) sites along the Great Salt Lake.  What is an IBA and how do you become an IBA? The IBA program is a worldwide bird conservation program. The National Audubon Society is the responsible organization for IBAs in the United States. Important Bird Areas provide important habitats for one or more species or populations of birds. To be an IBA you have to have one of the following:

  • Species of conservation concern (e.g. threatened and endangered species).
  • Restricted-ranges species (species vulnerable because they are not widely distributed).
  • Species that are vulnerable because their populations are concentrated in one general habitat type or biome.
  • Species, or groups of similar species (such as waterfowl or shorebirds), that are vulnerable because they occur at high densities due to their congregatory behavior.
  • Places that are IBA’s on or near the GSL: Bear River Bay, Cutler Reservoir, Deseret Land and Livestock, Farmington Bay, Gilbert Bay, Goshen Bay, Gunnison Bay, Ogden Bay, and Provo Bay.

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