Puget Sound Bird Fest is a party for bird lovers

Happy 10th birthday, Puget Sound Bird Fest!

The Edmonds’ festival’s original goals were to raise awareness about birds and to encourage people to provide habitat in their own back yards. The festival is Sept. 5-7 this year.

“At that point, the Cascade Loop of the Great Washington Bird Trail map had just been published and Edmonds was No. 1 on the loop,” said Sally Lider, environmental-education coordinator for the city. She started the event with Susie Schaefer of the Pilchuck Audubon Society.

“We wanted people to appreciate the environment of the waterfront and the marsh and the birds that are regular visitors,” Lider said.

The goals in 2014 are the same but the reach of the festival has broadened from a small venue, a couple of speakers, a few guided walks, and a couple hundred birders to at least doubling the attendance, birding trips by boat, and many more speakers and exhibits.

“Now we also have a native plant and habitat demonstration garden,” Lider said.

Author and artist Tony Angell will be the keynote speaker.

“Tony Angell has a long history of being a fantastic naturalist and artist in the state, and his works are spread out around the country,” Lider said. “A lot of his work is based on birds. His topic is avian inspiration. Tony will attract a crowd, not just of birders but also people interested in art.”

Angell has numerous writing and artistic awards for his work on behalf of nature, including the prestigious Master Artist Award of the Leigh Yawkey Art Museum. He will talk about his creative response in stone, bronze and line to the rich and diverse bird forms and personalities.

The talk will start at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Edmonds Plaza Room, 650 Main St. There is no fee or registration. The doors open at 7 p.m. Go early to find a seat.

Photography talks are always popular. Paul Bannick, award-winning wildlife photographer, returns to give two classes, one geared to beginners, one to advanced photographers. Joe Meche, North Cascades Audubon Society, will discuss digiscoping, an activity that uses a point-and shoot-camera and a spotting telescope.

Maria Mudd Ruth, author of more than a dozen natural-history books for children and adults, will share tales from her recent book, “Rare Bird: Pursuing the Mystery of the Marbled Murrelet” in a audio-visual presentation.

The three-day event includes speakers, guided walks, land- and water-based field trips, exhibits and educational activities for children and adults. A few of the trips require a fee, some require registration, so go to www.pugetsoundbirdfest.org for information.

Most of the events and exhibits are held at the Frances Anderson Center, 700 Main St.

Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-3964 or www.songandword.com.

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