By Tanna Patterson, the chair of the Bird Festival Committee of Wildsight
The Creston Valley Bird Festival taking place between May 7 and 9 will be different this year.
Spring migration and the return of the birds to the Creston Valley will still be something to celebrate, but in combination with live and virtual festival events.
The festival opens with an online auction of special avian gifts from May 1 to 7. Proceeds from the auction help fund the festival. Generous valley merchants have donated some fabulous prizes to the bird festival. They can be won three ways:
1. “Creston’s Big Day.” Go outside, observe and record as many bird species as possible throughout the weekend. Birding lists are available at www.crestonvalleybirds.ca. Submit your checklist to firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop it off at Red Barn (1513 Canyon Street).
2. Bird bingo cards can be found on the festival website, at the Red Barn, at local grocery stores and through the schools. Each completed bingo row gives you an entry into the draw.
3. Send your birding photographs to email@example.com. Prizes will be awarded to the top three photos of the festival weekend.
All submissions must be made by 12 p.m. on Sunday, May 9, for a chance to win.
Our virtual events are specially designed for the Creston Valley Bird Fest:
1. Dr. Jim Duncan, live from Winnipeg, talks “owly” and is accompanied by education ambassador Rusty, the Long-eared Owl.
2. Keynote speaker John Acorn, from Edmonton, has been bringing nature into living rooms for decades with his “Nature Nut” TV series. His presentation “Half the History of Birding” is his personal journey as a birder.
3. Dr. David Bird returns to the Creston Valley virtually, to talk about the decline of bird populations worldwide, and what we can do.
4. Armchair travelling to Queensland, Australia? Join photographer/naturalist Gary Davidson, from Nakusp, in a live Zoom to view the dazzling birds from Down Under.
4. From 100-Mile House, Paul Foth, will help you navigate the wonderful world of E-bird. He will also give clues on bird identification: where and how to find birds in the Creston Valley.
Hint: Paul’s workshops can help with completing your bird bingo card.
5. Rachel Darvill, from Golden, has been studying Bank and Barn Swallows throughout the Columbia Basin. Her recorded webinar is all about identifying these aerial masters of the sky: the Swallows.
6. Gaelen Schnare, a 15-year-old expert birder from Nelson, has created a presentation on the birds of the Creston Valley most commonly sighted during festival weekends.
7. For kids, the Discovery Centre will host “Owls of the Creston Valley.” Pry into owl pellets, examine bones and feathers up close, and find out why birds are so special.
Registration begins April 1, 2021, at www.crestonvalleybirds.ca. It’s open to the world, so register early, as some Zoom venues are limited. Prices are per event or $40 for the entire festival. Choose your own adventure and go outside to celebrate the birds of the Creston Valley. It’s where the birds are.