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Fall birding festival to be held

By Staff | Sep 2, 2011

BERKELEY SPRINGS – The 4th Annual Berkeley Springs Fall Birding Festival will be held in and around Berkeley Springs the weekend of Sept. 16 to 18

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, which should be in full swing at that time.

It will include Friday and Saturday evening programs at the Country Inn in Berkeley Springs, bird walks and workshops during the day Saturday, and a bird walk Sunday morning.

Most of these events will be free.

The Potomac Valley Audubon Society is the lead festival sponsor.

This year’s featured presenter will be Sharon Stiteler, a Minnesota naturalist who authors the popular “Birdchick.com” blog.

Her blog has been recognized in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and on NBC Nightly News. She is known as a very engaging and entertaining speaker.

The festival’s first event will be a reception at the Country Inn in downtown Berkeley Springs at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16. At 7 p.m., the evening program will begin with a presentation on the fall raptor migration by Virginia raptor expert and author Liam McGranaghan. At 8 p.m., Stiteler will give a presentation entitled “The Woman Who Could Talk to Birds,” a funny and true story.

Saturday’s events will begin with a free 8 a.m. bird walk that will start at the scenic Panorama Overlook on Rt. 9 west of Berkeley Springs. Eagles can frequently be seen here.

This will be followed by a free, 10:30 a.m. mountaintop nature walk at the Eidolon Nature Preserve on Sideling Hill Mountain.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, a free birding workshop will be held at Cacapon State Park. The workshop will be aimed at children but also open to beginning birders of all ages. It will be led by local naturalist Carol Del Colle and cover such topics as identification basics, birding manners and using guidebooks and equipment.

Saturday evening will feature two presentations at the Country Inn. At 7 p.m., Marcy Heacker, a forensic ornithologist with the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, will present a program entitled “Birds in the Nation’s Attic: A Glimpse into the Collections at the Smithsonian’s Division of Birds.”

At 8:15 p.m., Stiteler will give a presentation on “Techno Birding,” describing the latest technology for enjoying the outdoors. She will cover everything from digiscoping, to iPods, to digital recorders, to field guides on handhelds, to web guides and resources.

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. 18, 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 50 North Washington Street in Berkeley Springs. 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 at 304-258-0992 or natureniche@earthlink.net.