Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites
GA Mountain BirdFest

2012 Festival Guide (pdf file)      |      Birding Hot Spots (pdf file)      |      Unicoi Park

Online registration is now closed. To register for the event call
Unicoi State Park & Lodge at 1-800-573-9659, ext. 300.

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Watch our video from last year's conference!

Welcome to the 2012 Georgia Mountain BirdFest

Unicoi State Park and Lodge is excited to be hosting the 2nd Annual Georgia Mountain BirdFest! Nestled in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, Unicoi is only a short distance from Atlanta, and located adjacent to the Chattahoochee National Forest and Anna Ruby Falls.

Unicoi’s unique facilities allow participants to attend the conference while taking advantage of the many park amenities which include: lodge rooms, cozy cottages, campsites and restaurant. Join other birders from beginners to experts at the only birding conference of its kind in the area for guided walks, field trips, classes and hands-on activities.


Registration fee includes: Attendance to most of the seminars and presentations, many field trips, continental breakfast for 3 days, snacks and drinks throughout the day during breaks, and the keynote dinner.

Event Fees:
     “Early Bird” Registration - through March 15, 2012 - $110
     March 16 – April 23, 2012 - $135
Anyone registering within 10 days of the event will have no additional fee, but must contact Unicoi directly at 1-800-573-9659, ext. 305. There will be an additional charge of $5 for any field trip changes or additions, and this must be handled by the Event Coordinators.

Note: There is no reduced rate for children; however, anyone under 4 is FREE.

Register Online: A secure online registration link will soon be available . . . .


Unicoi State Park and Lodge has a 100-room lodge, 30 cottages, and 82 campsites. To ensure your reservation is with the BirdFest group, and to get special lodge rates, call Unicoi Lodge at 1-800-573-9659, and ask to make lodging reservations with Georgia Mountain BirdFest, event number E04754.

Lodge Rates: Unicoi Lodge is offering a reduced lodge rate of $59/night per room for all BirdFest participants. Note that check out is 11:00 a.m. and late check-outs will not be permitted. Please plan accordingly if you have an early morning field trip.

Cottages: Rates are as follows:
                    - 1 bedroom - $105 weekday/$115 weekend
                    - 2 bedroom - $130-$135 weekday / $140-$145 weekend
                    - 3 bedroom - $140 weekday/$150 weekend.
Click here for more information about cottage rates and other amenities.

Campground: There are full hook-up sites, power and water only sites, buddy sites, and walk-in tent sites. There is also camping in the Squirrel’s Nest platforms available (sleeping bags only). Sites vary based on site type and week day or weekend rates.


Unicoi has a restaurant on site open daily serving:
Breakfast Buffet 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Lunch Buffet 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Dinner Buffet 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (featuring Fresh Georgia Mountain Trout)
Friday & Saturday Dinner Buffet 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (with Special Menus)
Sunday Lunch Buffet 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (with Expanded Lunch Menu)
* Beverages are not included in buffet prices.

Atrium: Continental Breakfast is open to BirdFest participants Friday – Sunday. There are also snacks available throughout the day. Hours are as follows:
                  - Thursday: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
                  - Friday & Saturday: 5:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
                  - Sunday: 5:30 a.m. - 12:00

Birds & Beers: There is a daily social from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. with beer donated from Nacoochee Tavern one of our local sponsors.

Other Helpful Information

Transportation: Vans are provided for field trips. You may chose not to ride in the van provided by noting this on the registration website.

Raffles/Door Prizes: Through donations, there will be raffles with door prizes awarded nightly.

Field Trips Info: There will be a few field trips in some remote locations, but be advised that there are no restrooms available. Please be on time for the field trips as the group is anxious to get out in the field to find the birds. There will be a minimum number of 6 people per field trip. If that minimum is not met the trip may be cancelled. You will be notified by Event Coordinators if this happens.

eBird Users: If you are an eBird user and would like to have the field trip lists “shared” with you during the event, simply share your username with us when registering in RegOnline. This information will be kept confidential, but will save us time during your walk-in registration to the event.

Water Bottles: Georgia State Parks will provide each BirdFest attendee a water bottle in an effort to be “Green”. Each day participants will be asked to fill their own bottles for field trips and in place of a bottle of water for boxed lunches. Extra bottles of water will be available to purchase in the Gift Shop.

ParkPass: There is a $5 ParkPass required for all State Park & Lodge guests. This charge will not be applied until check-in. Annual Passes are available for $50 OR join the Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites and get a FREE Annual ParkPass and a FREE Historic Site Annual Pass plus many additional benefits.


Upon arrival to the BirdFest (and before your first registered trip/seminar), all pre-registered attendees will need to check in at the registration table. You will receive a packet containing helpful information.

Attention Teachers

Teachers can earn PLU credits (1-2 PLU’s) for attending the Georgia Mountain Birdfest. For more information or to request a "Prior Approval Form" please contact:
     Cindy Reittinger
     Chief Naturalist with Georgia State Parks

What to Bring

  Field Guide
  Flashlight or headlamp for owl prowl, bat walk, or frog walk
  Water Bottle (one will be provided, but if you want to stay hydrated, bring more)
  Snacks for Field Trips
  Shoes for Hiking
  Waterproof Shoes
  Rain Gear
  Insect repellent (optional)
  GPS Unit (optional)
  Cooler for fish (optional)
  Fishing Pole (optional)

Cancellation Policy

Georgia Mountain BirdFest reserves the right to cancel or revise any event for any reason. If it becomes necessary to cancel a paid event for which you have a reservation, we will notify you by telephone or e-mail to see if you would like to choose another field trip, seminar or receive a refund. If you cancel your paid event registration by telephone or in writing, the following refund policy will apply:

Cancellations received by 4/5/2012 will be fully refunded. Cancellations received by 4/20/2012 will be 50% refunded. Cancellations received by 4/27/2012 will not be refunded. No refunds will be given for no-shows. A $5 handling fee will be deducted from all refunds computed by the above refund policy.

More Unicoi Info

Unicoi State Park and Lodge is one of the most popular state parks in the Southeast. Unicoi is named after the Unicoi Turnpike that passed through the Sautee-Nacoochee Valley. This primitive Indian trail later Unicoi lakebecame a toll road in 1813. In Cherokee, the word “unega” means “white”, so it is said that Unicoi means “place where the white man lives” or “the white man’s road.” We have a 53-acre lake for fishing, swimming, pedal boats, and canoes. There are 8 miles of hiking and interpretive trails and 8 miles of mountain bike trails. Unicoi has a 100-room lodge and conference center, 30 cottages, 84 tent, trailer, and RV sites, 16 camping platforms, 7 picnic shelters with grills, 4 lighted tennis courts, playgrounds, a restaurant, and a craft shop.

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