— The annual New River Birding and Nature Festival kicks off April 29 and runs through May 4 in and around the New River Gorge National River. The festival draws visitors from around the country to the area each year who hope to see a variety of birds, including the Rose-breasted Grosbeak. The festival’s site at www.birding-wv.com touts a bird-watchers’ paradise: “Administrated by the National Park Service, this area is the heart of the upland, hardwood forests that Cornell Lab of Ornithology has identified as a crucial stopover habitat for the continued survival of species such as Golden-winged, Blue-winged, and Swainson’s Warbler, as well as the Scarlet Tanager. This bird-watching festival highlights more than 100 bird species on a variety of birding tours. ... This week-long event features guided birding and nature excursions, world-class speakers, the finest collection of guides at any festival destination anywhere, tasty food, and a back-porch atmosphere unmatched by any other birding festival. Signature guided bird-watching experiences include the opportunity to visit a wide range of habitats, instruction for those wanting to enhance their birding skills, and the best guide-to-guest ratio on the festival circuit.” Visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NewRiverBirdingNatureFestival.