Tenth Olympic BirdFest takes flight in April

Festival showcases Olympic Peninsula birding plus San Juan Islands nature cruise

The prospect of seeing a large variety of land and sea birds in beautiful settings, in the company of great birders, brings flocks of participants to the Olympic BirdFest in Sequim each spring.


In 2003, the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society welcomed them to its first BirdFest, a one-day event.

“We had 35 guests and 35 volunteers, which enabled us to give the attendees a very lovely, personal experience,” Eftin Strong recalls.


A former OPAS board member, Strong said he sees the Olympic BirdFest continue to grow in popularity and size. He attributes its strength and success to the dedication and quality of the OPAS volunteers, who put it on each year to raise funds to help support education programs of the Dungeness River Audubon Center.


The 10th anniversary BirdFest, slated for Friday-Sunday, April 5-7, may be the best one yet. In addition to guided birding trips to the area’s best sites with wonderful local guides, BirdFest offers a Totem Tour in Blyn, workshops in bird drawing and nature photography, a visit to a waterfowl breeding sanctuary, guided birding cruises and a catered banquet. Check the BirdFest website, www.olympicbirdfest.org, for details and registration. Enrollment is limited in some cases so it pays to register early.


BirdFest evening activities begin at 5 p.m. on April 5 with the First Friday

Sequim Art Walk. Wind Rose Cellars, 143 W. Washington St., will display works by BirdFest art instructors, photographer Stephen Cunliffe (http://admiraltyimages.com) and watercolorist Robert Amaral. Also follow the BirdFest Bird Quest to find the Sequim shops featuring bird-related art created by local students.


At the anniversary banquet Saturday night, April 6, nationally renowned wildlife photographer Kevin Schafer will share some of his images and experiences “In the Company of Animals.” Schafer’s photos have appeared in National Geographic, Smithsonian, National Wildlife, Audubon and other major magazines. Kokopelli Grill is catering the banquet, in the stunning Red Cedar Hall of the Jamestown S’Klallam campus in Blyn.


Treat yourself and support BirdFest by bidding on fabulous silent auction items and by buying raffle tickets for a great pair of 8 by 32 Vortex Viper HD binoculars, valued at $659, either at the Dungeness River Audubon Center at Railroad Bridge Park in

Sequim or at the banquet. Wild Birds Unlimited has generously donated the binoculars for the raffle winner.


On Sunday, April 7, the M/V Glacier Spirit sails for a three-day, naturalist-led cruise through the San Juan Islands to Roche Harbor, providing excellent viewing of water birds, seals, whales and other marine creatures. This year’s cruise has sold out.


BirdFest is pleased to thank its major supporters: the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau, First Federal, the City of Sequim, Kokopelli Grill of Port Angeles and the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce.


Olympic BirdFest is a partnership of the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society, Dungeness River Audubon Center and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. Proceeds from the festival help support the educational programs of the Dungeness River Audubon Center, a leader in outdoor classroom learning, centered in nature.


For more information, visit www.olympicbirdfest.org, call 681-4076, or e-mail info@olympicbirdfest.org.