‘Bird Fest’ continues to delight migratory avian fanciers

See why we always enjoy spending time with those who teach, and learn, about migratory birds at this annual Southeast event …

Filled with exhibits, Sellwood Park becomes a bird-lover’s paradise, during the 2011 “Wild Bird Festival”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
While some folks love caring for birds in a cage, others enjoy learning how they can better protect their feathered friends in the wild.

People came from all over Portland to the annual “Wild Bird Festival” on held once again at Sellwood Park.

The City of Portland, led by “Portland Parks Environmental Education”, continues to partner with the US Fish & Wildlife Service to learn more about the Migratory Bird Treaty Program, in which they are partners, as they presented bird-related activities designed for families.

Boone Ethridge uses a clothes pin to “eat like a bird” as he “feeds” his mom, Nancy Prior. If you choose to dine this way, don’t lose your grip near the lips!

Phil Hubert, an education bird handler with the Audubon Society of Portland, introduces folks to Julia, a great horned owl.

These activities are widely varied – from songs and stories about birds, to crafts like making “vulture planes” and bird feeders, and even gardening tips. While seed and feed was available for birds, Sellwood’s Twin Paradox Coffee Shop donated cookies and coffee to nourish the humans present.

Wait – gardening tips?

“Any chance we get to educate people about taking out invasive species and replacing them with native plants in their yards is great,” smiled Robin Bown, a biologist with the US Fish & Wildlife Service at their booth. “This helps birds along the Pacific Flyway thrive. And, this event helps show how everyone can pitch in to help protect birds.”

Iris Thompson gets a colorful face makeup treatment from Portland Parks & Recreation artist Thao Nguyen.

And, visitors’ day wouldn’t be complete without an expertly-led bird walk through nearby Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. “We’re showing our group an anise hummingbird nest, and where a screech owl has been roosting,” confided Pat Crane, a volunteer from the Audubon Society of Portland. “The area is alive with birds today.”

From smiling kids who flapped their arms like wings, to serious displays of birds by Audubon volunteers, it looked as if this was another great festival for people – and not just for the birds.

Pat Crane, a volunteer with Audubon Society of Portland, and Cat Brown, from the US Fish & Wildlife Service, lead a bird-watching walk down into Oaks Bottom.

This story was reported in May 7, 2011 – even though its publication was delayed, we feel it was still worth publishing! Look for this great event again next year.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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