Yellow Rails and Rice Festival – A Festival Like No Other

Yellow Rail in flight, John Schwarz
Photo credit: John Schwarz
Nov 03, 2015
JENNINGS, LA – One hundred and forty-five bird enthusiasts from 27 states and Canada gathered here Wednesday through Sunday for the seventh annual Yellow Rails and Rice Festival (YR&R).  The festival brings birders together with rice farmers to highlight the role of Louisiana’s working wetlands in bird conservation while providing participants a unique venue to view the Yellow Rail.

Although the Yellow Rail is fairly widespread it is rarely seen so bird enthusiasts welcome the opportunity to catch sight of the migrating Rails as they arrive in southern Louisiana at the same time the ratoon rice crop is being harvested.

Donna Dittman, a founder of YR&R, said, “Although we designed this festival with fun in mind, its primary goal is to bring birders and farmers together to emphasize the value our area’s working wetlands have for wildlife.”

USA Rice is one of 50 organizations that sponsor the festival.  The Louisiana Rice Growers Association and Hoppe Farms provided gift bags of Louisiana-grown rice to festival participants.