The fifth annual Berkeley Springs Fall Birding Festival will be held in and around Berkeley Springs the weekend of Sept. 21-23. Most of the festival's events will be free and everyone is invited to attend.
The festival is timed to coincide with the annual fall bird migration. It will include Friday and Saturday evening programs, bird walks and workshops during the day Saturday, and a bird walk Sunday morning.
The Potomac Valley Audubon Society is the lead festival sponsor.
This year's featured presenter will once again be Sharon Stiteler, a Minnesota naturalist who participated in last year's festival. Sharon authors the popular "Birdchick.com" blog, which has been recognized in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and on NBC Nightly News. She has a national reputation as a very engaging and entertaining speaker.
The first event will be a reception and program at the Ice House the evening of Friday, Sept. 21. The reception will begin at 6 p.m., with the program starting at 7 p.m. with a presentation about raptors by Northern Virginia raptor expert Liam McGranaghan. At 8 p.m. Sharon Stiteler will give a talk entitled "Today's Office." Her theme will be that, for birders, an office is an increasingly mobile and flexible concept.
Saturday's events will begin with a free morning bird walk with Liam and Sharon that will start at 8 a.m. at the scenic Panorama Overlook on Route 9 west of Berkeley Springs. Bald Eagles can frequently be seen here.
Saturday afternoon, there will be two free events at Cacapon State Park. The first event will be a 1:30 p.m. birding workshop at the Park Nature Center. The workshop will be aimed at children but also open to beginning birders of all ages. It will be led by Park naturalist Renee Fincham and Smithsonian Institution forensic ornithologist March Heacker, and cover such topics as identification basics, birding manners, and using guidebooks and equipment.
At 3 p.m., in the lower conference room of the Park Lodge, Ron Perrone of the Three Rivers Avian Center in Brooks, W. Va. will give a presentation on raptors featuring live rescued birds.
Saturday evening will feature two presentations at the Ice House. At 7 p.m., Marcy Heacker, who also participated in the festival last year, will give a talk entitled "Birding Then and Now; More Tales From the Nation's Attic."
At 8:15 p.m., Sharon Stiteler will talk about her experiences birding in other countries, most recently in Israel.
The Saturday evening event will include desert and coffee, and a silent auction of items donated by local artists and businesses.
The festival will wrap up on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 23, with a free 8:30 a.m. bird walk at Sleepy Creek Retreat, a mountainside meadowland property south of Berkeley Springs. The property offers sweeping views and a rich variety of habitats, and it will provide good opportunities to see migrating raptors, blue jays and warblers.
To help cover festival expenses, a $10 ticket will be sold for the evening programs. This ticket will be good for admission to both those programs.
Advance tickets will be available at the Nature Niche store at 168 North Washington Street in Berkeley Springs (304-258-0992 or email@example.com).
Tickets will also be available starting at the Friday evening program.
For more details see the Potomac Valley Audubon website at www.potomacaudubon.org or contact the Nature Niche store.