Yellow Rails and Rice Festival 2021
28-30 October 2021
Walk-ins are NOT accepted
Registration is online only and opens on 1 September 2021 at 10 AM CDT and closes when maximum participant threshold is reached or 22 October 2021, which ever comes first. The number of 2021 participants is limited due safety considerations during the Covid19 Pandemic, weather contingencies and field access are also taken into consideration. We want to provide a more personal and friendly festival experience as much as possible under the current circumstances.
Yellow Rails and Rice Festival is different from most birding outings and festivals because we assume that the primary goal of participants attending the festival is to see a Yellow Rail, which means visiting a rice field during rice harvest operations. Harvest start time each day is FLUID and is determined solely by the farmer based on weather conditions and rice moisture levels. It is important to realize that farmers cannot harvest in the rain or when the rice is wet (coated with dew), and after a heavy rain it may take up to 24 hours for rice to dry or fields to drain.
One Festival Package is offered in 2021. It includes access to harvest sites on two days (weather permitting): Thursday and Friday. Saturday is the backup weather emergency day if both Thursday AND Friday are canceled. A bag lunch is included on Thursday.
We are planning to have the Audubon Louisiana Rail banding team working at the field sites again this year (weather permitting) so participants have the opportunity to see this unique banding process in action.
Our usual addoAll-day field trips to explore other habitats are not offered in 2021. We will provide participants with detailed self-guided directions to explore sites farther afield. We are also not offering our AM trips so Friday schedule starts at the harvest site (weather permitting).
Please also Review the Weather Contingency Plan. Personal transportation is required for all activities, carpooling is usually encouraged but Covid19 conditions may impact such possibilities. For your safety, please stay up to date on Covid19 developments and CDC recommendations.
One optional add-on Field Trip: Coastal Black Rail Survey Trip
Assist with a salt marsh banding operation in Cameron Parish using rope pulls and spotlights! Target species is Black Rail, which has been flushed and banded during the previous YRARF Evening Black Rail Survey trips in 2017, 2018, and 2019. However, since YRARF 2019, the coast has experienced two major hurricanes with tidal surge in 2020; we do not know what to expect this year. The number of participants is limited. Registration fee helps support Audubon Louisiana banding projects, including these coastal surveys. Note that this activity is AFTER DARK in a coastal salt marsh. This trip will be strenuous. Walking in salt marsh can be extremely hard especially in the dark; the ground is uneven with holes, vegetation is thick and knee-deep, and it is wet. During previous banding efforts, groups have walked about half a mile to flush a handful of rails. There are no standing, sitting, or side-viewing areas – to see the rails you have to walk into the marsh and keep up with the group. There is no other way to join the group except by foot through the marsh. It may also be buggy = MOSQUITOES! See also how Weather Contingency Plan may affect this trip. Minimum number of participants to make this trip a go is 5; maximum online registration is 16 participants per evening trip, which will be divided into two groups. Please review the Weather Contingency Plan. If full then please ask to be on the Wait List.