Bird lovers will want to grab their viewing scopes and head down to the Blaine waterfront for the 8th annual Wings Over Water Northwest Birding Festival (WOW) this weekend.
The event takes place Saturday, April 17 and celebrates the wide variety of migratory birds that flock to Drayton Harbor and Semiahmoo Bay, located on the Pacific Flyway, and is one of the country’s premier bird viewing areas.
The event offers a day-long birding expo with lots of free and low-cost activities for children and adults of all ages, including live raptor presentations by Sardis Raptor Rehabilitation Center, wildlife exhibits, displays, craft vendors, children’s games and bird viewing stations.
For $5, attendees can take a wildlife cruise on Drayton Harbor on the historic Plover Ferry or a guided field trip on Semiahmoo Spit by retired geology and ornithology teacher Jim Jorgensen, who will identify birds and interpret the geology of the area.
Also, this year, Outer Island Expeditions will be offering Whale Watching Tours at a discounted rate – $35 for adults, $25 for children 12 and younger – for more information and reservations call 360/376-3711.
Expert wildlife speakers throughout the day include eagle biologist David Hancock of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation; David Drummond, founder of the Merlin Falcon Foundation; Martha Jordan, a biologist and trumpeter swan expert; and Maynard Axelson, a bird conservationist and founder of the Washington Brant Foundation.
Beginning at noon, Jordan will will present a slide program on Washington’s native Trumpeter and Tundra swans.
Participants will learn about swan’s life history, biology, and identification tips as well as problems the birds face such as lead poisoning and habitat issues.
From 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Drummond, founder of the Merlin Falcon Foundation will present a new Powerpoint presentation on “Northwest raptor ecology,” from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Blaine School Performing Arts Center at 925 H Street.
“We are blessed with a diverse array of predatory birds that help keep our home landscape inhabited with the very finest array of birds and animals,” he said. “They in turn, are part of our ecology fueling a rich regional economy.”
Participants will be invited to join Drummond and other wildlife experts in learning field identification, habitat associations and learning about bird behavior. Wings Over Water Northwest is a non-profit corporation committed to the importance of educating awareness, and protecting the birding habitat within this important migration corridor.
Then, at 5 p.m., Axelson will present “No Place Like Home” at the PAC, sharing from his perspective of participating in bird research in the “Pacific Flyway.”
Also in conjunction with the festival, Loomis Hall Gallery at 288 Martin Street has scheduled a multi-media nature art exhibit.
The festival is sponsored by BP Cherry Point Refinery, City of Blaine, Blaine Chamber of Commerce and the Port of Bellingham as well as local individuals and businesses.
For more information, call 360/332-4544 or visit their site at www.blainechamber.com/wow