Annual birding festival expands to downtown

Published on Thu, Apr 3, 2008 by Jack Kintner

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Annual birding festival expands to downtown

By Jack Kintner

This year’s annual birding festival Wings Over Water (WOW), set for April 19, has expanded into downtown in order to accommodate more activities and, planners hope, more people.

“We still need someone to wear the bird suit, though,” said festival chair Debbie Harger, whose committee is hard at work with last minute details. The suit will fit just about any regularly-sized person, Harger said, asking that interested older kids or adults call her to volunteer.

Reknown Surrey, B.C., eagle expert David Hancock headlines the ambitious schedule that also features lots of free family oriented activities such as wildlife demonstrations, exhibits, displays, craft vendors and more. For a $5 fee, the city’s MV Plover Ferry will take visitors on a local wildlife cruise or a waterborne field trip to Lake Terrell.

Bird viewing stations with scopes will be set up in Marine Park and at Birch Bay State Park, where a significant number of Brant recently moved in as they work their way north on their spring migration.

Ornithologist Wayne Weber of Delta, B.C., explained that while the Brant’s fall migration involves a virtually non-stop flight from northern Alaska to the subtropics, on their way north in the spring the Brant work much more slowly, stopping at productive eel grass areas such as ours to eat and remain nourished on the way to their northern summer habitat.

If you’ve ever wanted to become involved in birding this is a good way to get a solid introduction as a number of birding experts will be present either as presenters or attendees, such as North Cascades Audubon chapter president Joe Meche.

The birding habitat in both Blaine and Birch Bay is so attractive for migrating species, especially shorebirds, that one of the best places to practice the rapidly growing hobby of birding is right here on our doorstep, and on that day every one of our local hotspots will have someone there to show you what to look for and what you’re seeing at the time.

Additional information for the festival is available through the Blaine Chamber of Commerce at 360/332-4544. Individuals can find complete details of the festival at: www.blainechamber.com/wow and www.washingtonbrant.org.