Organizers promise plenty to see and do at bird festival

Feb 24 2011 - 11:40pm

Images

Standard-Examiner file photo
Sandra Cole (left) and Reserve Manager Ann Neville look for birds at the Inland Sea Shorebird Reserve during the 2008 Great Salt Lake Bird Festival in Salt Lake City.
Standard-Examiner file photo
Sandra Cole (left) and Reserve Manager Ann Neville look for birds at the Inland Sea Shorebird Reserve during the 2008 Great Salt Lake Bird Festival in Salt Lake City.

FARMINGTON -- Utah bird watchers will likely be close to their computers and telephones March 1.

That is when, starting at 9 a.m., they can register for the 13th annual Great Salt Lake Bird Festival.

Neka Roundy, the festival chair, said a lot of festival-goers look to book their reservations early for the May 12-16 festival.

"(They do) if they're focused on a certain trip," Roundy said. "The trips that can't take a lot of people will fill up fast, but we have a lot of trips."

Roundy said she had a call on Wednesday from a woman who was excited for the festival and was looking for more information. That tells Roundy that there is already high interest in the event.

While it may sound like a cliche, Roundy said the festival has something for everyone.

"We've got a boat on the Great Salt Lake," Roundy said. "We've got horseback, we've got kayaks, buses, vans, own vehicles."

There will be a total of 58 field trips, which offer a variety of things to do. Roundy said all the trips are wonderful, but a few seem to be more popular.

"Because it's the bird festival, we get to do some behind-the-gate field trips and people get to go to places where people normally don't get to go to," Roundy said. "That's what kind of makes the festival a draw."

Some of those places include Rio Tinto Kennecott Utah Copper's property in the Oquirrh Mountains, Deseret Land & Livestock, as well as places at Antelope Island and Farmington Bay.

Eventually, Roundy said, all the spots in each field trip will get filled.

Participants will also hear keynote speaker Bill Thompson III, editor of Bird Watcher's Digest. Along with working at the popular bimonthly magazine that has been published by his family since 1978, he is the author of numerous books on birds and bird-watching, including his most recent book, "The Young Birder's Guide to Birds of Eastern North America."

Thompson often shares his thoughts on his blog on the Bird Watcher's Digest website, called "Bill of the Birds."

There will be a few additions this year.

Phillip Gray, from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, will do a presentation on bats on March 13.

"Friday the 13th is a perfect day to learn about bats," Roundy said.

Jason Jones will appear on March 14 with live reptiles, and Todd Stout will teach a Butterflies for Beginners course. Also, Joy Bossi, host of "Joy in the Garden" on 570 KNRS, will be another workshop presenter.

Once again, students will have the opportunity to compete in the art contest. Cash prizes of $50, $25 and $15 will be given to the top three finishers in the different categories. Those entries are due April 1 and Roundy said that last year there were 820 pieces of art entered in the contest.

The winners will be on display May 13 and 14 with an awards ceremony on May 13.

"We have a quackers and cheese reception for them," Roundy said.

For more information, log on to www.greatsaltlakebirdfest.com.

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