Annual birding event set for mid-March

Published on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 by Nathan Dalla Santa

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Get your binoculars ready. 

Blaine will host the 12th annual Wings Over Water Northwest Birding Festival Friday, March 14 through Sunday, March 16 at Blaine Middle School.

The festival, a three-day event that celebrates the wide variety of birds found in the Pacific Northwest, will feature a variety of speakers and activities throughout the weekend. The festival will start at Semiahmoo Resort at 6 p.m. on Friday with an opening reception featuring a gallery of birding artwork by this year’s featured artist Sylvia Hayden. The reception will also include a talk by nature photographer and writer Noah Strycker, freshly returned from Antarctica, who will be talking about his new book, “Among Penguins – Life Down South.”

Saturday has a number of activities, mostly free, including nature hikes and bird-watching expeditions throughout Blaine, Birch Bay and Semiahmoo; photography lessons with award-winning nature photographers; bird presentations and wildlife cruises.

In addition, renowned wildlife photographer and field guide author Paul Bannick will speak about birding, conservation and photography. Bannick was the recent recipient of the Canon award in the International Conservation Photography Awards.

“Wings Over Water is great because you get to hear speakers talking about birds and within an hour you can see and photograph the birds you were just hearing about,” Bannick said.

That’s because Blaine is located in the Pacific Flyway. Every year, millions of migratory birds travel the flyway from Alaska to the tip of South America and back. 

Because of its plentiful estuaries, where freshwater meets saltwater, the Pacific Northwest offers plenty for hungry migratory birds to eat. Whatcom County in particular has plenty of farmland and moist flatland, making the area a particularly nice place for the birds to take a rest, Bannick said. 

This ideal environment for birds allows spectators at the Wings Over Water festival a chance to see a great variety of species, including one of the fastest creatures on earth, the peregrine falcon.

For more information about the Wings Over Water Northwest Birding Festival, call 360/332-4544 or visit