Edmonds Kind of Play: Bring your flock to kid-friendly Bird Fest this weekend

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Freedom the bald eagle was a crowd pleaser during Bird Fest’s raptor demonstration in 2016. (File photo by Larry Vogel)

My family’s time in Edmonds has included lots of different things that Edmonds is famous for: the ferry, the beach, the temperature-taker dude, breakfasts at Chanterelle and birds — whether at our bird feeder or seeing bald eagles down by the water. The window that looks into my often unmanicured backyard doubles as a viewing area for what the kids call “Bird Wars.” This is the time of year where the small birds swarm the birdseed feeder and the big ones get agitated by this and try and use their bigger feet to sit on the perch, which rarely works.

The the trees in our backyard, which is just a couple houses off of a busy street, seem to provide a home to many different types of birds. We see the little birds like chickadees all of the time, Stellers Jays too, but we are the most excited to have both Pileated Woodpeckers and Northern Flickers back there. Once we even saw a Coopers Hawk resting on our back fence while holding onto its meal. It was hard to identify it until the Bird Lore column on My Edmonds News posted a picture and we were able to confirm that it was what we saw in the yard. In fact, in looking for the links to the different birds in Bird Lore, I just realized we also get the Downy Woodpecker at our suet feeder too.

Our backyard bird setup in not fancy. Both bird feeders hang from the eaves, which keep them safe from the squirrels. The regular bird seed feeder is just the kind that is a tube and has little perches. And the suet feeder, which I’d never heard of until my mother-in-law bought us one, is just a small square cage that holds the suet block. Both kinds of bird feeders are available at Freddy’s and aren’t fancy contraptions with all the extras. We also have a hummingbird feeder, but I’ve yet to get one hummingbird with that. The good news is a hanging fuschia or a rhodie in bloom occasionally does the trick.

Activities for kids abound at Bird Fest. (File photo by Larry Vogel)

Puget Sound Bird Fest in Edmonds is this weekend, Friday, Sept. 15 through Sunday, Sept. 17. There are a ton of activities for this event, including kid-friendly events and special events just for kids. When I wrote to Jennifer Leach, the City of Edmonds’ Environmental Education & Sustainability Coordinator, about the kids events, she told me they have some exciting stuff happening in the Kid’s Room this year, including “some of our traditional favorites, but also a visiting artist.” Leach is talking about Christine Elder, a naturalist, environmental educator and visual artist from Oregon. She will be in the Kid’s Room, Room 115 downstairs at the Frances Anderson Center, 700 Main Street, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, “sharing her love of birds with the children through sketching birds, bird-themed sing-a-longs, and crafts.” There will be ongoing activities throughout the day including dissecting owl pellets and crafts, but there will also be sing-a-longs and guided bird drawings scheduled throughout Saturday per the following schedule.

Presentation schedule

10 a.m. Bird coloring pages sessions

10:15 a.m. Bird & wildlife sing-a-longs

10:30 a.m. Guided group drawing of a robin

11 a.m. Fold and decorate an eagle origami

11:15 a.m. Bird & wildlife sing-a-longs

11:30 a.m. Guided group drawing of a hummingbird

!2 p.m. Bird coloring pages sessions

12:15 p.m. Bird & wildlife sing-a-longs

12:30 p.m. Guided group drawing of a Woodpecker

1 p.m. Fold and decorate an eagle origami

1:15 p.m. Bird & wildlife sing-a-longs

1:30 p.m. Guided group drawing of a Robin

2:00 p.m. Bird coloring pages sessions

2:15 p.m. Bird & wildlife sing-a-longs

2:30 p.m. Guided group drawing of a Woodpecker

Also at the Frances Anderson Center on Saturday, you can catch the Sarvey Wildlife raptors from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Gym. You are invited to come and meet some of the “feathered” members of Sarvey’s educational team and learn about their lives.

At the Edmonds Marsh Overlook, 180 W Dayton St. in Edmonds, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday there will be “ALL DAY Bird Viewing.” If you visit the overlook between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. the Seattle Audbon Society will have an “Optics Demo.”

On Sunday you can head to the Willow Creek Hatchery, 95 Pine Street, for a Native Plant Sale 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and FREE Wildlife Habitat & Native Plant Demonstration Garden Tours from 1 to 2 p.m.. You can shop for native plants from Go Natives! Nursery who are a local nursery that offers from that 180 species of native plants from the Pacific Northwest. You can also check out the bee and butterfly garden, plus learn about bat houses and other ways to make your yard more wildlife-friendly.

There will also be a FREE Ranger-Naturalist Guided Beach Walk on Sunday from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Brackett’s Landing North park, 50 Railroad Avenue. This walk will be led by Susan Tarpley, who is a Ranger Naturalist from the Edmonds Discovery Program. I was about to call Ranger Susan my favorite, but then every other ranger popped into my head, they are just all great. Ranger Susan will teach you about “the marine habitat and food web as you look for birds on and offshore. This walk meets at the base of the jetty at Brackett’s Landing North Park.

I’ve really only scratched the surface of the total events held during Puget Sound Bird Fest, though besides a couple of guided park walks, which would likely become “push me on the swings” trips, I’ve listed the main kid-friendly events. If you are interested in the keynote speaker Friday night or any of the Citizen Science Mini Symposium Presentations throughout the weekend, you can find more information on the Puget Sound Bird Fest in Edmonds Event Schedule or by calling Edmonds Parks and Recreation at 425-771-0230.

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two young boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time. You can find her on Twitter trying to make sense of begging kids to ”just eat the mac n cheese”

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