A bird’s eye view of the Wings Over Water Northwest Birding Festival


Here’s an overall look of upcoming activities at the 21st annual Wings Over Water Northwest Birding Festival, Friday, March 15 to Sunday, March 17 in Blaine, Semiahmoo and Birch Bay. Some events fill up quickly. If your first choice is unavailable, please come and enjoy the many free and no-participant-limit events available throughout the festival.

Among the Friday events, there will be an all-day, charter-bus guided birding trip to the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary on Westham Island, B.C. Or choose a guided walk at Birch Bay State Park, led by Holly Merker, to immerse yourself in forest bathing, a therapeutic relaxation through spending time in nature. There will also be an opportunity in the afternoon for a guided birding trip at Semiahmoo. For dinner, join us at our featured artist and opening reception where there will be a $30 spaghetti dinner and no-host bar and silent auction at the Blaine Senior Center. You’ll be able to meet this year’s featured artist, Laurie Potter, and hear a presentation titled “Monet, Me, and the Mallards” by Gregrory Green, a career wildlife biologist, writer and photographer

On Saturday, take an offshore guided birding cruise aboard the San Juan Cruises’ Salish Express to search for a variety of birds in the rich waters of Semiahmoo and Boundary bays. The free, all-day birding expo in the Blaine Pavilion will have presentations, wildlife exhibits and arts and crafts booths. Kids will flock to the expo for hands-on activities provided by local artist Ellen Clark and Blaine-Birch Bay Park and Recreation District 2. Live raptor presentations will also take place during the expo. There will be local guided birding field trips during the day and on-site viewing stations at several locations, manned by volunteers from the North Cascades Audubon Society. Saturday will culminate with Merker’s keynote presentation: “The Power of Bird Watching.” Merker is a global advocate for the practice of mindful birding, and is author of the book, “Ornitherapy.

Join Merker again on Sunday morning for breakfast and a presentation, “Learning the Language of Birds.” Learn to identify what a bird is signaling through its calls and songs. Increase your chances of successfully finding and identifying songbirds by using techniques, strategies and foundational skills to build upon your birdsong memory. You’ll also discover why listening to birds is good for your overall wellbeing. Also on Sunday, at the BP Heron Center, Wild Whatcom will provide family bird and nature walks in Birch Bay State Park as well as have surprises for kids.

For a printable schedule with more details and information on price, location, time and registration for festival events, go to wingsoverwaterbirdingfestival.com

Debbie Harger is festival coordinator of Wings Over Water Northwest Birding Festival.


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