Edmonds has been a leader in conservation and conservation education for decades. Programs over the years have included the Edmonds Beach Ranger Naturalists, Discover the Forest, and the restoration of the Edmonds Marsh. The marsh restoration is a local source of pride for avid birders having been named the first stop on the Cascades Loop of “The Great Washington State Birding Trail” map compiled by Audubon Washington. The marsh is one of few urban saltwater estuaries in our region and over 90 species of birds can be seen through the year.
In fact, with over 250 species of birds, the city of Edmonds has come to be known as a stellar birding area in the Puget Sound. In addition to the marsh, there are many locations to spot all types of birds including Yost Park, the beaches, the public fishing pier, and local Edmonds parks.
“I’ve been looking at birds in Edmonds for 40 years. Bird watching is a hobby that is enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. It can be enjoyed by one’s self or with others. One thing that I have always liked about the hobby is that one can do it virtually anywhere at any time — a specific season or designated area is not needed, like golf, skiing, hunting, etc. When I was working I spent a fair amount of time away from home, frequently to places that would never be considered vacation destinations. After-work hours could have been very boring, but I could always go looking for birds,” said Dennis Duffy, an avid Edmonds bird enthusiast.
For the past 13 years The Puget Sound Bird Fest showcases what makes Edmonds such a special place to enjoy this hobby. Hundreds of people from the Seattle area are expected to flock to the three-day festival taking place Sept. 14-15.
The Puget Sound Bird Fest highlights the important role that birds play in our local Edmonds ecosystem and economy: from pest control, to seed dispersal, to tourism. The overarching goal of the festival is to promote local birding, encourage bird-friendly gardening, and educate residents about conservation of bird habitat.
Bird Fest Activities
There are things to do at the festival for all ages and all levels of experience with birding, many of which are free.
It all kicks off on Friday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. with keynote speaker Kevin Ebi. He is a local photographer who documented a year in the lives of eagles. His book, Year of the Eagle, demonstrates through photographs how eagle families educate their young with life skills.
The opening speaker on Saturday is renowned birder Noah Strycker. In 2015 Strycker became the first human to view over half of the world’s species of birds in a single year-long birding trip that took him across the globe. He shares is incredible (and humorous) experiences in this talk taking place at 10:45 a.m. in the Library Plaza Room.
There are at total of five early-morning bird walks taking place, including three at Yost Park, Richmond Beach, and Haines Wharf. You can also venture down to the Edmonds Marsh any time from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a demonstration by Seattle Audubon.
All day there are free indoor activities at Frances Anderson Center. Visit the many exhibitors and watch a variety of presenters and speakers. View a display of photos taken by both amateur and professional photographers and vote for your favorite. Take the kids to the kid’s area from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to learn about owl pellets and make nature crafts.
Sunday offers outdoor activities including a bird cruise on the Sound, several guided bird walks, a field digiscoping workshop and more.
For a list of all of the events and activities, make sure to visit http://www.pugetsoundbirdfest.com/schedule-for-event.
Local merchants celebrate birds
Several downtown Edmonds businesses are participating in Bird Fest, too.
Swoop in to Garden Gear all weekend and enjoy a 10 percent discount on bird feeders, accessories, seeds, suet and books about birds. And take a gander at the bird-themed décor at Anchor Chic over the weekend and partake in some yummy treats.
You can also fly around town to enjoy specialty bird-themed cocktails. Salish Crossing restaurant 190 Sunset is featuring a concoction called “The Bird’s Eye View”. Chanterelle is serving up a special “Local Blue Heron” cocktail made with locally distilled Scratch Gin, a splash of blue Curacao and a dash of angostura bitters, served up with a nice long lemon twist. Café Louvre will also have a unique themed drink for customers to enjoy.
For more places for bird enthusiasts to visit around town, visit edmondsdowntown.org.
Plan a day with the birds.
Created by the Edmonds City Council in early 2013, the Edmonds Downtown Alliance (Ed!) is a focused, funded organization that supports and improves business conditions in Edmonds. With over 350 members, Ed! funds programs related to activities such as beautification, marketing, security, parking, clean-up or administration. For more information, visit edmondsdowntown.org.
By Kelsey Foster, on behalf of Ed!