Birds are stars at festival in Edmonds this weekend
Dan Bates / The Herald 2012 file photo
A great blue heron stands high in a tree. Blue herons are just one of the many birds that visitors will likely see at the Puget Sound Bird Festival.
Herald File Photo 2012
Thousands of Vaux's Swifts fly around the Frank Wagner Center in Monroe in 2012. You can see the swifts for yourself and learn more about them at an event on Sept. 14.
The festival starts at 7 p.m. Friday at the Edmonds Library with feather expert and conservation biologist Thor Hanson, author of "Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle," which won the John Burroughs Medal and was nominated for the Samuel Johnson Prize.
In addition to his expertise, Hanson is good for a quote.
On fluffy fledglings: "They look like little linebackers out there."
On the physical strain on feathers: "They can also molt to repair damage in case of a feathered blooper, such as hitting a window."
On molting: "It's a highly energetic process. Anyone who keeps chickens finds it's frustrating to go to the expense of feeding a flock of molting chickens and buying eggs at the store."
The Edmonds Library is at 650 Main St.
Pilchuck Audubon Society's festival menu of opportunities for Saturday and Sunday includes activities, speakers and presentations, guided walks and field trips, and a Sunday garden tour.
An expert birder will be at the Edmonds Marsh interpretive overlook from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The interpretive walkway is south of Harbor Square at Dayton Street.
Activities at the Frances Anderson Center, 700 Main St., include children's activities (make a set of wings, dissect an owl pellet) in Room 115.
Speakers' topics include raptor ecology, art of photographing birds, getting started in birding, International Brant Monitoring Project, fall and winter backyard birds, living with urban great blue herons, top picks for feeders and nest boxes, birding in the digital age, and a kids' guide to birding.
Guided walks and field trips include a Puget Sound birding cruise; Edmonds Marsh, Willow Creek Hatchery, Point Edwards and Scriber Lake Park guided walks; and birds of the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden walk.
Some outdoors events are geared to children and teens.
The walks and field trips require registration at 425-771-0230. Look at the website www.pugetsoundbirdfest.org for registration information, class number and fee requirements before you call.
Swifts Night Out: One of the four most significant chimneys in Washington for roosting migrating Vaux's swifts is at the Wagner Center (previously Frank Wagner Elementary School) on Monroe's Main Street.
It will be the gathering spot for humans and swifts from 5 until about 8:30 p.m. Sept. 14.
Several thousands of swifts will circle and enter the chimney, while humans can admire the spectacle, look through the information booths, encourage children to participate in activities and feast on a spaghetti dinner (there is a charge).
It's also a chance to listen to Vaux's swift expert Larry Schwitters.
Bring a blanket or lawn chain. For more information, go to www.monroeswifts.org.
For information on the local Audubon chapter, go to www.pilchuckaudubon.org.
Get exposed: The best annual outdoor photography contest in the state is in its 11th iteration.
Washington Trails Association is accepting entries through Oct. 19 for its Northwest Exposure contest, which focuses on the beauty surrounding the state's trails.
Besides the exposure in Washington Trails Magazine and WTA's calendar, you could win one of the prizes, including a Nikon camera.
The categories are: hikers in action, flora and fauna, families on trails, and offbeat outdoors.
To read the rules, go to www.wta.org.
Suiattle River Road: Heavy construction will close Suiatlle River Road 11.5 miles east of Highway 530 Friday through Oct. 10 to pedestrians, equestrians, bicyclists and vehicles.
The closure blocks access to the Pacific Crest Trail, Suiattle River Trail, Miners Ridge Trail to Image Lake, and Downey Creek Trail.
After Oct. 10, foot traffic will be allowed.
Tidy up: Washington CoastSavers is accepting registration to participate in the International Coastal Cleanup on Sept. 21.
Volunteers can select from dozens of beaches from Cape Disappointment to Cape Flattery.
For more information, go to www.coastsavers.org.
Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-3964 or www.songandword.com.
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