A weekend event that’s for the birds: Bird Fest comes to town this Friday-Sunday

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Stephen Shunk

Want to learn how woodpeckers can save the world? Want to see raptors up close and personal? Desire to become a birder but don’t know where to start? This weekend’s Puget Sound Bird Fest in Edmonds is for you.

An annual celebration of birds and nature, this year’s Bird Fest kicks off with a Friday, Sept. 15, evening keynote address by renowned woodpecker expert Stephen Shunk.

Other activities during the three-day event includes speakers, guided walks, land- and water-based field trips, exhibits and educational activities for children and adults.

Here’s the complete rundown of the three-day schedule:

Friday, Sept. 15, 7:30-9 p.m.

Edmonds Plaza Room, 650 Main St.

“How Woodpeckers can Save the World (or at least your local forest!).

Doors open at 7 p.m. for this presentation by Oregon naturalist and North American woodpecker specialist Stephen Shunk. Woodpeckers represent one of the most specialized bird families in the world, and North America’s woodpeckers play a critical role in our continent’s forests and woodlands. In fact, nowhere else on Earth are woodpeckers such important contributors to forest ecology. Shunk will take you inside the woodpecker anatomy, and translate anatomical adaptation into the fascinating behaviors we love to watch among our favorite woodland carpenters. Light refreshments will be served.

Saturday, Sept. 16

Frances Anderson Center, 700 Main St.
Free activities all day –
please sign in upon arrival

Exhibit Area and “Birder Central”

10 a.m.- 4 p.m., Upper Floors 
Non-profit and agency exhibits, along with some local artists, will be located throughout the Frances Anderson Center.

Kids’ Activities
10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Room 115
Drop in to our Kid’s Room and you’ll find plenty to do with your young ones. Friendly and knowledgeable volunteers will help with owl pellet dissection and nature craft activities. Special guest Christine Elder — a naturalist, environmental educator and visual artist from Oregon — will be in the Kids’ Room all day, sharing her love of birds with the children through sketching birds, bird-themed sing-a-longs, and crafts.

Citizen Science Mini-Symposium
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Presentations from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) Room 114
What’s happening with birds in your neighborhood? Hundreds of non-scientists throughout the Puget Sound Region are involved in dozens of research projects designed to measure and understand what makes our bird life tick. How do they do it? And what are they learning about our birds?

Speakers and Presentations

Citizen Science Mini Symposium Presentations: Chaired by Alan Mearns, and Soo Goh-Baus
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Room 114
The session is organized much in the same way as sessions at scientific conferences and is intended to give you a brief “flavor” of what a scientific conference looks and feels like. Presenters include scientists from the Seattle Audubon Society, Guillemot Research Group, Pilchuck Audubon Society and Puget Sound Bird Observatory.

Beginning Bird Identification: Burt Guttman
11 a.m. – noon, Edmonds Plaza Room
This illustrated talk will introduce you to simple strategies for recognizing the distinctive features of birds so that you can make the pleasures of bird-watching, or birding, a part of your life.

Birds in our Midst, Creating Gardens Filled with Life: Julie O’Donald
12:30 – 1:30 p.m., Edmonds Plaza Room
Julie O’Donald, Community Wildlife Habitat Steward and Master Gardener, will give an overview of the elements that create beautiful gardens for birds and people with an emphasis on native plants and design features that create the best habitat.

Sarvey Wildlife Raptors
2 – 3 p.m., Gym
Come and meet some of the feathered members of Sarvey’s educational team and learn about their lives.

Better Bird Photography: Tyler Hartje
2 – 3 p.m., Edmonds Plaza Room
Learn about basic camera functions that pertain to photographing birds and how to choose the best shooting settings (shutter speed, aperture, and ISO) for specific situations.

Seabirds of Puget Sound: Joe Sweeney
3:30 – 4:30 p.m., Edmonds Plaza Room
In this presentation, Joe Sweeney will introduce you to the seabirds that can be observed this time of year. He will also share some simple identification tips for separating a cormorant from a loon, a grebe from a guillemot, a murrelet from a merganser, and more. After the program, Joe will lead a seabird walk along Edmonds’ waterfront (pre-registration required).

SATURDAY OUTDOORS
Pre-registration for activities requiring a fee takes place at reczone.org; meeting locations are provided during the registration process.

All Day Bird Viewing at Edmonds Marsh overlook
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free. Pre-registration not required.

Interpretive Activities: 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Optics demo by Seattle Audubon Society 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 180 W Dayton St. in Edmonds.

Edmonds Marsh, Willow Creek Hatchery & Point Edwards Trail Guided Walk
7:30 – 10 a.m.
Pre-registration required ($5); Class #5983. 
Join local experts to bird the hatchery and Point Edwards, then drive to the Edmonds Marsh. Less than a mile of easy walking with a little uphill.

Picidae Prowl with Stephen Shunk
7:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Pre-registration required ($10); Class #5981
Join Bird Fest Keynote speaker and renowned expert Steve Shunk for a morning walk with a special focus on woodpeckers. 

Scriber Lake Guided Walk
8 – 10:30 a.m. FREE! Pre-registration not required.
The urban forest and wetlands of this 22-acre park provide habitat for a variety of wildlife, including waterfowl, wading birds and songbirds. A one-mile level loop trail provides easy access. Meet in the parking lot at 5601 -198th St. S.W. in Lynnwood.

Seabirds of Puget Sound with Joe Sweeney
4:45 p.m. – Dusk
Pre-registration required ($10); Class #5980
Following his companion presentation at the Frances Anderson Center, Master Birder Joe Sweeney will lead a seabird walk along Edmonds’ waterfront to introduce you to the seabirds that can be observed this time of year.

Picidae Prowl with Stephen Shunk
4:30 p.m. – Dusk
Pre-registration required ($10); Class #5982
Join Bird Fest Keynote speaker and renowned expert Steve Shunk for an afternoon walk with a special focus on woodpeckers.

Sunday, Sept. 17
 Note that the Frances Anderson Center will be closed on Sunday. All activities take place in the field.

Puget Sound Birding Cruise (Age 8+)
8 – 10 a.m.
Pre-registration required ($10), Class #5985
Our traditional boat cruise on small boats that go out from the Port of Edmonds for two hours, courtesy of volunteers of the Edmonds Yacht Club.  A birding guide will accompany participants on each boat.

Edmonds Marsh, Willow Creek Hatchery & Point Edwards Trail Guided Walk
7:30 – 10 a.m.
Pre-registration required ($5); Class #5984
Meet at the Willow Creek Hatchery for less than a mile of easy walking with a little uphill.

Field Photography Workshop (Age 12+)
8 – 10 a.m.
Pre-registration required ($10); Class #5986
Join local photographers Tyler Hartje, Bill Anderson and friends at the Edmonds Marsh to learn how to increase your skills taking photos in the field. Topics will include composition, camera settings, and field craft.

Scriber Lake Guided Walk
8 – 10:30 a.m.. FREE! Pre-registration not required.
The urban forest and wetlands of this 22-acre park provide habitat for a variety of wildlife, including waterfowl, wading birds and songbirds. A one-mile level loop trail provides easy access. Meet in the parking lot at 5601 -198th St. S.W. in Lynnwood.

Pine Ridge Park Guided Walk
8 – 10:30 a.m. FREE! Pre-registration not required.
This 24-acre, wooded park includes a pond bordered by wetlands, with trails but no facilities. 20330 83rd Ave. W., Edmonds.

Ranger-Naturalist Guided Beach Walk
8:30 – 9:30 a.m. FREE! Pre-registration not required.
Learn about the marine habitat and food web as you look for birds on and offshore. The walk will be led by Susan Tarpley, a Ranger Naturalist from Edmonds Discovery Programs. Meet at the base of the jetty at Brackett’s Landing North park, 50 Railroad Ave. in Edmonds.

Native Plant Sale and Wildlife Habitat & Native Plant Demonstration Garden Tours 
Noon – 3 p.m. (Tours from 1 – 2 p.m.) FREE! Pre-registration not required.
See the bee and butterfly garden, learn about bat houses and other ways to make your yard more wildlife-friendly. Volunteers will be on-hand to conduct short tours from 1-2 p.m. Stop and shop for native plants from Go Natives! Nursery, a small retail native plant nursery in Richmond Beach, north of Seattle in Shoreline that offers more than 180 species of native plants from throughout the Pacific Northwest. Willow Creek Hatchery, 95 Pine St. in Edmonds.

Puget Sound Express Vector Logo Sunday afternoon boat cruise available through Puget Sound Express

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