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May 13th - 16th

Bird Fest

Bird Fest 2021

For 19 years, the Wenatchee River Institute and community partners have been bringing the public together to celebrate the Leavenworth Spring Bird Festival. This year Bird Fest is taking on a hybrid format, with both in-person and virtual programming.

So here’s what you need to know:

The Venue

Your home & neighborhood or here in North Central Washington!  Virtual events will be streamed through Zoom. We'll also release videos on our YouTube Channel.

The Agenda 

Bird Fest will be held May 13th-16th, 2021.

Registration

Bird Fest registration will begin Thursday, April 8 at 5:00pm PST.

Click this link for registration.

To register for art workshops, use these links:

As a thank you to 2020 Bird Fest registrants who donated at least $100 from their Bird Fest registration fees when the in person event was cancelled, WRI offered those supporters 24 hours of early registration access for a portion of their 2021 registration. You may see their pre-registration reflected in trip availability.

Registration is required for all trips and workshops, including those that are free. (Self guided walk at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery does not require registration.)

Transportation will not be provided this year. For driving trips, participants will drive separately from their meeting locations.

More specific information about trip meeting locations will be shared closer to the start of Bird Fest.

Any questions can be directed to programs@wenatcheeriverinstitute.org


Please note: The Bird Fest schedule is a living document and will continue to be updated as Bird Fest approaches.


Thursday, May 13, 2021

Thursday Trip/Workshop Name Time Cost Description
Watercolor Workshop: Birds in Their Habitats with Molly Hashimoto (Virtual) 10:00AM-12:30PM $53/$60 Learn how to place birds in landscapes: forests, wetlands and more. We'll begin with some warm up bird sketches, refining them, and then proceed to the surrounding landscapes. See my complete supply list for info on what to have ready; whatever materials you currently use are fine, but it is always great to use Arches 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper.
Workshop: A Call for the Uplands: Developing Resilient Landscapes for the Future (virtual) 3:00PM-4:00PM $5 In the uplands, we have a treasure unlike any other in the world. From vast golden prairies that stretch across the continent to quiet pine forests that make the world disappear, every wild place holds a promise–a chance to escape, to reconnect, to come alive. These lands are part of who we are: a gift from past generations of dedicated hunters and conservationists, inscribed with memories and promising new adventures. These essential connections—among land, water, plants, animals, and people—are the foundations of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. However today, the uplands are some of the most threatened places in the world.Come hear about how Pheasants Forever is working with local landowners and local communities to implement conservation that sustains working landscapes for people and wildlife. These efforts have not only increased bird populations across the county but have helped build resilient landscapes for the future. Virtual workshop presented via Zoom.
Slimes and Scales: Amphibians and Reptiles of the Wenatchee Valley (Virtual) 7:00PM-8:30PM FREE Learn how to identify local Wenatchee Valley amphibians and reptiles with Dr. Erim Gómez. We will also learn about their ecological importance and how to stay safe and protect these incredible critters.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Friday Trip/Workshop Name Time Cost Description
Birding at Badger Mountain 6:00AM-1:00PM $26/$30 Explore riparian, sagebrush steppe and dry ponderosa pine habitats on Badger Mountain. Trip includes a two-mile hike along an uneven trail. Be prepared for weather and chilly mornings; Badger Mt. is 4,100 feet in elevation! Bring binoculars, a backpack, water, lunch, sturdy footwear, hat and appropriate layered clothing. Meet in Wenatchee at the Park & Ride on East Penny Road. Group Limit: 8
Birding Boot Camp 6:00am-2:00pm $26/$30 Intermediate to Advanced Birders. Join wildlife biologist Janet Millard as she teaches the skills learned when she first started at the USFS monitoring birds. The trip will focus on voice, behavior, appearance and habitat: the 4 principles of bird ID. The objective is to use a holistic approach to enhance your birding skills and enjoyment. Must wear shoes with ankle support and carry appropriate gear including, day pack, water, extra clothes, raingear, and binoculars. Expect off-trail hiking. Meet and depart from Bird Fest Central. Group limit: 6 
Birding Cashmere Canyons Preserve 6:00AM-11:00AM $26/$30 Join Joe Veverka of the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust and Devon Comstock on a field trip through fields and forests of a hidden private ranch near Cashmere. Expect to see birds of grassland, shrub-steppe, and forest and spectacular fields of wildflowers. Wear sturdy shoes and layered clothing. Meet at Hay Canyon Road in Cashmere. (see website for detailed directions) Group Limit 8
Feathers and Photos 6:00AM–10:00AM $20/$23 NCW Audubon’s Susan Ballinger will lead this trip to bird wetland, riparian, and open grassland habitats at the confluence of the Wenatchee and Columbia Rivers. Trip includes a two-mile hike along paved and graveled trails. Bring your camera along if you want some personal guidance about bird photography from Bruce McCammon. Make sure your camera batteries are charged and bring your camera manual along if you can. Be prepared for possible weather conditions. Bring binoculars, a backpack, water, snacks, good footwear, hat and appropriate layered clothing. Meet in Wenatchee at Walla Walla Point Park at the north parking lot by the playground. (see website for detailed directions). Group Limit: 8
Birding by Pontoon Boat 7:00AM-9:00AM $21/$25 Birders 8 years and older are welcome. Fish Lake, a 500-acre lake north of Leavenworth, is ringed by mixed coniferous forest and has a large marsh teeming with wildlife. Perhaps you’ll see Wilson’s phalaropes, common yellowthroats, or a sharp-shinned hawk diving on a flock of violet-green swallows. A pontoon boat is a perfect way to explore! Meet at The Cove Resort on Fish Lake. Group limit: 8. Thank you to the Cove Resort for providing boats!
Neighborhood Bird Walk 7:30AM-10:00AM $18/$21 The Leavenworth neighborhood habitat is one of the best local places to see many of the birds on your checklist. White-headed Woodpeckers climb our telephone poles, Great Horned owlets squawk above our roofs, Flycatchers bathe in our baths, and warblers cruise our shrubs. Join WRI Community Programs Manager Rachel Bishop on this walking bird tour as we listen and seek our neighborhood friends. Meet and depart from Wenatchee River Institute. Group limit: 12
Birding by Pontoon Boat 9:30AM-11:30AM $21/$25 Birders 8 years and older are welcome. Fish Lake, a 500-acre lake north of Leavenworth, is ringed by mixed coniferous forest and has a large marsh teeming with wildlife. Perhaps you’ll see Wilson’s phalaropes, common yellowthroats, or a sharp-shinned hawk diving on a flock of violet-green swallows. A pontoon boat is a perfect way to explore! Meet at The Cove Resort on Fish Lake. Group limit: 8. Thank you to the Cove Resort for providing boats!
Fish Hatchery Bird Walk (self-led) 8:00AM - 3:00PM FREE Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery has over five miles of flat, easy trails that pass through a variety of pine forest, open meadow, and stream-side habitats which are home to a variety of birds! Stop at the information table in front of the hatchery building and pick up your trail map and bird list to start your self-lead, socially distant, bird walk. Benches along the trail offer excellent bird viewing (especially in the morning hours) and make this a great activity for families or birders who appreciate resting spots along the way.
Wandering for Woodpeckers 5:00PM-6:30PM $5 Go on a birding adventure at one of the area’s best birding habitats - the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery right along the beautiful Icicle Creek! Join USFWS fish culturist Daniel Bressman on this beginner friendly walk. Plenty of diverse habitat with a special focus on White-headed woodpeckers! Meet at the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club parking area, 7505 Cyo Rd, Leavenworth. Registration required. Group limit: 8.
Workshop: Landscaping for Birds and Wildlife (Virtual) 1:00PM-2:00PM $5 Learn about the key elements that make a landscape hospitable to birds and other wildlife: food, water, and cover. The instructor will discuss why butterfly and moth caterpillars are a critical element in the food chain (hint: what do baby birds eat?) and how you can create a biodiverse habitat that supports these pollinators, other insects, birds, and all kinds of wildlife. The focus will be on using a variety of native plants to renovate an existing landscape or develop a new one, no matter what size your property is. Virtual workshop presented via Zoom.
Workshop: Owls (Virtual) 3:00PM-4:00PM $5 Owls, mysterious predators of the night, have fascinated human beings for millennia. Myth, superstition, and wonder have fueled peoples’ imaginations since the dawn of human existence.  But the science behind these amazing raptors is every bit as compelling as the fear and wonder that has existed between owls and humans.  Join Seward Park Audubon’s Lead Naturalist Ed Dominguez and he explores fact and fiction behind these incredible birds! Virtual workshop presented via Zoom.
Sip & Paint (Virtual) 6:00PM-7:30PM $15 In celebration of Spring Bird Fest - paint an American Goldfinch! Check the WRI calendar to register directly with Sip & Paint.
Owl Prowl  Start at 9PM $30/$35 Join us as we search for our resident owls. Your prowl will begin with Seward Park Audubon Lead Naturalist Ed Dominguez sharing secrets of these amazing nocturnal predators, their habits, behaviors, and language. We will continue with a night hike deep into the forest where we will call out to find these incredible birds of prey. For ages 10 and up (must have the ability to stand still and be super quiet!) and anyone able to hike up to 2 miles. Meet and depart from Wenatchee River Institute. Group limit: 6

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Saturday Trips/Workshops Time Cost Description
Palisades, Ephrata, Potholes Reservoir, and more 6:00AM-? $34/$40 Join Matt Yawney for a trip focusing on breeding birds of the Columbia Basin. Starting with a drive through canyon country (Palisade's Area) and up into some sagebrush habitats. Then down to Ephrata, practicing a short check of the local parks for migrating songbirds. Then while passing through some farmland, check for curlew, burrowing owl, and barn owl. Then visit the potholes area for some nice looks at nesting egrets, herons, and cormorants. When searching for the egrets, there will be some walking in small sand dunes and there may be mosquitoes. If time allows, there will be some shorebird stops too, but shorebird migration is pretty light in May. There will be a little walking, but it'll be at an easy level.  Meet and depart from Wenatchee River Institute at 6:00 am.
Birding Mountain Home Preserve 6:00AM–10:30AM $26/$30 Join Joe Veverka of the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust and Emily Jefferys on a field trip through open forest and shrubby thickets along a ridge overlooking Leavenworth and the Icicle River. Expect a wonderful 3 mile hike at a leisurely birding pace. Wear sturdy shoes and layered clothing.  Birders will meet at the Canyon Crest and Rat Creek Ridge Trailhead 3.5miles up (from jct with E. Leavenworth Rd) Mountain Home Rd.
Birds & Wine Leavenworth 7:00AM–2:00PM $34/$40 Join NCW Audubon members Richard Scranton and Mark Johnston for a morning of birds near Leavenworth. We’ll visit a variety of habitats before finishing at a local winery to relax and share thoughts on the morning’s experiences (1 glass of wine or another beverage per person included). Bring snacks, liquids, and dress for the weather. Meet and depart from Wenatchee River Institute. Group limit: 6
Birding at Horse Lake Reserve 7:00AM-12:00PM $26/$30 Join Kitsap Audubon’s Heather Moravec and NCWAS’s Jane Zanol on this 4-mile birding and wildflower hike through Horse Lake Reserve. Learn about shrub-steppe birds and landscape at this Chelan-Douglas Land Trust property. Learn about conservation efforts restoring the landscape with native species to make better habitat for birds and wildlife. Hiking on—and off—trails so sturdy footwear is recommended. Bring water and a snack. Meet and depart from the NW corner of Walmart parking lot in Wenatchee at 7:00am. Group Limit: 6
Wandering for Woodpeckers 7:30AM-9:00AM $5 Go on a birding adventure at one of the area’s best birding habitats - the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery right along the beautiful Icicle Creek! Join USFWS fish culturist Daniel Bressman on this beginner friendly walk. Plenty of diverse habitat with a special focus on White-headed woodpeckers! Meet at the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club parking area, 7505 Cyo Rd, Leavenworth. Registration required. Group limit: 8.
Birding the Americas 8:30AM-12:30PM $12/$15 Join Team Naturaleza’s Elisa Lopez and Wenatchee Naturalist Susan Ballinger for a trek in the Icicle Creek valley exploring streamside habitats looking for neotropical migratory birds. Learn the language of birds that migrate from Mexico, Central America, and South America to North America. This field trip is an excellent companion to the Birding the Americas streaming workshop. Must wear and carry appropriate gear: shoes or boots for off-trail walking in wet vegetation, day pack, water, extra clothes, hat and rain gear if poor weather. Meet and depart from Wenatchee River Institute to Bridge Creek Campground on Icicle Road. Group limit: 10 (half of the spots will be held for Team Naturaleza participants).
Fish Hatchery Bird Walk (self-led) 8:00AM-3:00PM FREE Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery has over five miles of flat, easy trails that pass through a variety of pine forest, open meadow, and stream-side habitats which are home to a variety of birds! Stop at the information table in front of the hatchery building and pick up your trail map and bird list to start your self-lead, socially distant, bird walk. Benches along the trail offer excellent bird viewing (especially in the morning hours) and make this a great activity for families or birders who appreciate resting spots along the way.
Birding Blackbird Island  9:00AM-11:00AM FREE Join Seattle Audubon’s Julia Hansborough and Steven Rutherford for an easy bird walk around Blackbird Island. Expect to see woodland and water species during this two hours of birding adjacent to downtown Leavenworth. Perfect for both beginning and experienced birders. Meet and depart from Wenatchee River Institute at 9:00am. Group limit: 8
Wildflower Walk on Ski Hill 12:00PM-3:00PM $8/$10 Spend an afternoon walking the trails surrounding the historic Leavenworth Ski Hill. Discover the amazing diversity of flora and fauna found in an area of our State located between our wetter western and dryer eastern environments. Guides will focus on native plants with plant lists and instructional material available. Destinations will depend on weather and trail conditions. We'll review a little history about the CCC era lodge and the early internationally acclaimed ski jumps (1929 - 1974) held on Bakke Hill. We'll stop by the outdoor venue for the Leavenworth Summer Theater's production of Sound of Music. Meet at the Ski Hill parking lot at 11:45 pm for a walk of approximately 3 hours. Water bottles and layers suggested. Group Limit 6
Wandering for Woodpeckers 5:00PM-6:30PM $5 Go on a birding adventure at one of the area’s best birding habitats - the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery right along the beautiful Icicle Creek! Join USFWS fish culturist Daniel Bressman on this beginner friendly walk. Plenty of diverse habitat with a special focus on White-headed woodpeckers! Meet at the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club parking area, 7505 Cyo Rd, Leavenworth. Registration required. Group limit: 8.
Workshop: Woodpeckers (Virtual) 2:00PM-3:00PM $5 Washington state is home to eleven species of woodpeckers!  Ed Dominguez, Lead Naturalist at the Seward Park Audubon Environmental Center, will show how to spot differences between species, explore the unique adaptations that allows them to make their living banging their heads against trees, and learn about the important niche they fill in our ecosystem! Virtual workshop presented via Zoom.
Workshop: Bird Photography by Peter Bauer (Virtual) 3:00PM-4:00PM $5 Learn how to take better bird pictures. Enjoy birding but wish you could capture the intricate beautiful subjects you see? This workshop aims to help you do just that. The workshop will review types of cameras and lenses for bird photography, best camera settings for different situations including the 'Why's' of such advice. The program will then examine a variety of bird photos and describe how Peter got the shot. Virtual workshop presented via Zoom.
Workshop: Checkerboard Lands History (Virtual) 4:00PM-5:00PM $5 Presented by Charlie Raines. The checkerboard patterns of land ownership in much of Washington state resulted from grants to the Northern Pacific Railroad in the 19th century. Together with later grants to the state and the establishment of the federal forest reserves, this established the framework of public and private lands, from homesteads to towns and from tree farms to wilderness.  Among other things, this resulting patchwork of ownership created significant challenges for efforts to protect and manage landscapes important to birds and other wildlife.  Newly created maps will show the pattern from Puget Sound to the Columbia River as it evolved over 150 years, plus the route of the iron tracks that delineated Checkerboard Country.  This includes Chelan and Kittitas Counties. Virtual workshop presented via Zoom.
Keynote: The Wonderful Adaptations of Birds (Virtual) 7:00PM FREE We are excited to host Dennis Paulson for a virtual keynote address for Bird Fest 2021! Dennis will present on Saturday evening on The Wonderful Adaptations of Birds.
Owl Prowl 9:00PM $30/$35 Join us as we search for our resident owls. Your prowl will begin with Seward Park Audubon Lead Naturalist Ed Dominguez sharing secrets of these amazing nocturnal predators, their habits, behaviors, and language. We will continue with a night hike deep into the forest where we will call out to find these incredible birds of prey. For ages 10 and up (must have the ability to stand still and be super quiet!) and anyone able to hike up to 2 miles. Meet and depart from Wenatchee River Institute. Group limit: 6

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Sunday Trip/Workshop Name Time Cost Description
Birding in the Coulee 6:00AM–4:00PM $47/$55 This birder’s marathon highlights some of the best birding sites in Douglas County, including the Palisades, Sagebrush Flats, Jameson Lake, and Douglas Creek. Look for shrub-steppe species with local ornithologist, Dr. Dan Stephens. This field trip finds the highest number of bird species! Bring the essentials and either a sack lunch or cash only for a lunch stop. Meet and depart from Wenatchee River Institute. Group limit: 8
Birding Cashmere Canyons Preserve 6:00AM–11:00AM $26/$30 Join Joe Veverka and CDLT Conservation Fellow Susan Ballinger of the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust on a field trip through fields and forests of a hidden private ranch near Cashmere.  Expect to see birds of grassland, shrub-steppe, and forest and spectacular fields of wildflowers. Wear sturdy shoes and layered clothing.  Meet at Hay Canyon Road in Cashmere. (see website for detailed directions) Group Limit 8
Birding Beebe Springs 6:30AM-12:00PM $20/$23 Beebe Springs Natural Area is a former orchard, restored by WDFW to native riparian woodlands, along with some sagebrush steppe. We will bird an easy 2-mile gravel trail along the Columbia River and some inland channels, and cross Beebe Creek and a beaver pond. Expected sightings include Western Tanager, Lazali Bunting, Bullock’s Oriole, Warblers, Sandpipers, Swallows, Raptors, possible Wood Duck, Virginia Rail, and Canyon or Rock Wren.  Meet and depart from Wenatchee River Institute at 6:30am, returning by around noon (this includes a one hour drive to and from Chelan). Drivers will need a Discover Pass. Group limit: 6
Wandering for Woodpeckers 7:30AM-9:00AM $5 Go on a birding adventure at one of the area’s best birding habitats - the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery right along the beautiful Icicle Creek! Join USFWS fish culturist Daniel Bressman on this beginner friendly walk. Plenty of diverse habitat with a special focus on White-headed woodpeckers! Meet at the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club parking area, 7505 Cyo Rd, Leavenworth. Registration required. Group limit: 8.
Birds of Farm, Fields and Woods  8:00AM–11:00AM $18/$21 Sunitsch Canyon is a hidden gem, only 5 miles from Leavenworth. Join Andrew Holm and Willy Stockman of Tierra Learning Center in search of a variety of birds in the diverse habitats this special and beautiful location has to offer. Bring sturdy shoes, binoculars, jacket, rain gear, and water. Meet and depart from Wenatchee River Institute. Group Limit: 6
Birding Number 2 Canyon 8:00AM- 12:00PM $20/$23 Join NCWAS and UBB birders John and Jane Zanol for a trip up Number 2 Canyon in Wenatchee. There are a variety of habitats up the Canyon road, including riparian, rock formations, and shrub-steppe. You may see neotropical migrants such as the Lazuli Bunting, Yellow Warbler, and Yellow-Breasted Chat. Last year’s trip saw Golden Eagles and nesting Bullock’s Orioles. Meet to carpool at the intersection of Skyline Drive and Number 2 Canyon Road at 8 a.m. Minimal walking required as we will drive to several stops to bird. Group limit: 6.
Birding Blewett Pass 8:00AM-12:00PM $26/$30 Join NCW Audubon’s Denise Bayuszik and Kitsap Audubon’s Heather Moravec as we explore Blewett Pass habitats hosting a wide variety of birds. We will view as many species as possible in several habitats up the Pass. Bring snacks, liquids, and dress for the weather. Meet and depart from the Park & Ride at the intersection of Highways 2 and 97 (The Big Y). Group limit: 10
Leavenworth Bike-N-Bird 9:00AM–12:00PM $10/$12 This event is led by Vicky Cibiki. Travelling south on East Leavenworth Rd, the first stop is the public boat launch. Then the group will head to the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery and bike over the spillway into the back meadow to bird along Icicle Creek. After, the group will head north on Icicle Creek Rd. with stops along the way. The return journey back will take the group through Enchantment Park and Blackbird Island. Requirements: must be able to travel by yourself ~10 mph, no trailers; fat tires recommended as the back meadow is sandy. No children allowed as we will be traveling on heavily used roads and cyclists need to know/follow the rules of the road. Helmets, water, tire patch kit, high visibility vest is required. Wear sunscreen, dress for the weather conditions and don’t forget your binoculars! Meet and depart from Wenatchee River Institute. Group limit: 6
Bird Friendly Properties Tour 9:00AM-12:00PM $18/$21 Birds occur in places that offer what they need to survive and thrive. Homeowners wanting to welcome them to their property can improve their chances by taking advantage of existing bird friendly features and/or creating ones that are needed but not present. We’ll visit 3 properties near Leavenworth that offer excellent examples of landscapes designed with birds in mind. Meet and depart from Wenatchee River Institute. Group limit: 8
Sketching Birds in Watercolor with Laurel Mundy (Virtual) 1:00PM-3:00PM $40/$50 Learn to sketch a bird in pencil and watercolor and have fun while you do it! This workshop is designed for anyone who likes birds and wants to learn some techniques for how to sketch them—whether you’re a beginner birder looking to improve your identification skills through sketching, or a bird expert wanting to explore a new facet to your passion. Learn the basics of blocking in shapes, sketching bird anatomy, watercolor techniques, and adding in a few details to your sketch. Follow along with me and paint a colorful western tanager from start to finish, or paint any bird you like following the same techniques as we go. Sketching should be fun and easy for anyone to try, so don’t worry about your painting being perfect—and practice as many times as you like with all your favorite birds!

Health & Safety Note

We will continue to follow state and local COVID guidance.

Trip participants will need to fill out a daily COVID screening, including questions about COVID symptoms and exposure and temperature. Masks are required during participation in Bird Fest in person events, including during check in and at Bird Fest Central.

Refund and Cancellation Policy

If you cancel your registration 30 days out, you will receive an 80 percent refund; less than 30 days out, a 50 percent refund; and less than two weeks out, no refund will be given. If we are able to fill your space with someone from the waitlist, or if you know someone who would like to take your place, you will receive a full refund minus a 10 percent processing fee.

If you cancel your registration due to COVID symptoms, known COVID exposure, or a positive diagnosis for COVID, you will receive a full refund minus a 10 percent processing fee.

Although we rarely need to do so, we reserve the right to cancel a program. In this case you will receive a full refund.

Membership fees are non-refundable.

As a nonprofit organization, event registrations are incredibly important to us. We strive to keep the cost of Bird Fest and other WRI programming low. In the event that you are unable to attend, we hope you will consider donating your registration fees to support Wenatchee River Institute programs.


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