Annual Bird Fest brings local nature within reach

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    There’s a heron out there somewhere. Bird Fest volunteer Marty Jones saw it fly overhead and land atop a tree on the other side of the Edmonds Marsh. But to the uninitiated, bird and foliage are indistinguishable.

    Another volunteer, Steve Dang, uses a spotting scope — basically a telescope for wildlife — to lock on the bird and suddenly there it is, looking close enough to touch, standing gloriously on its perch.

    Other scopes on tripods focus on some strutting killdeers and a smattering of sandpipers.

    Visitors are immediately awestruck. “Wow,” one fellow murmurs as he squints into the eyepiece.

    Wow indeed. So much life right under our noses. Who knew?

    As it turns out, lots of people who take part in the annual Puget Sound Bird Fest in Edmonds have deep knowledge of birds and generously share it across the three-day festival, which began Friday and runs through Sunday afternoon.

    Saturday’s events included nature walks, kids’ activities and a raptor demonstration.

    Sunday’s events are all outdoors, most in the morning but there are several in the afternoon including a free tour from 1-2 p.m. of the Edmonds Wildlife Habitat native-plant demonstration garden at the Willow Creek Hatchery.

    If this taste of nature whets your appetite for more, Steve Dang suggests joining your local Audubon Society for easy-going neighborhood bird walks.

    “You just show up at the time and place and our volunteers lead the walk. It’s a great way for beginners to get started in birding or just learn more about the wildlife in their neighborhood.”

    The Bird Fest is an excellent introduction to the natural world in your own backyard. And you just might have your own “wow” moment when the invisible suddenly, thrillingly, becomes visible.

    For details, visit the Puget Sound Bird Fest schedule.

    — Story and photos by Connie McDougall

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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