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Berkeley Springs birding festival scheduled

By Staff | Sep 11, 2015

The Seventh Annual Berkeley Springs Fall Birding Festival will be held in and around Berkeley Springs the weekend of Sept. 19-20. Most of the festival’s events will be free and everyone is invited to attend any or all of them. No pre-registration is required.

The festival is timed to coincide with the annual fall bird migration. It will include Saturday and Sunday morning bird walks, a Saturday evening program at the Ice House in downtown Berkeley Springs, and a “Beginning Birding” workshop Saturday afternoon.

The Potomac Valley Audubon Society is the lead festival sponsor.

This year’s featured Saturday evening speakers will be Smithsonian Institution forensic ornithologist Marcy Heacker, and Steve Huy, a noted owl and raptor expert.

For full details see the Potomac Valley Audubon website at www.potomacaudubon.org or contact the Nature Niche store at 168 North Washington Street in Berkeley Springs (304-258-0992 or natureniche@naturenichewv.com).

The first event will be a Saturday morning bird walk that will start at 8 a.m. at the scenic Panorama Overlook on Route 9 west of Berkeley Springs and move on to favorite riparian sites near the junction of the Cacapon and Potomac rivers. The walk will be led by local birding experts Jon Boone and Janet Ardam.

At 10 a.m., participants will gather at the Ice House for coffee and pastries and an on-site demonstration of backyard birding strategies and gear.

Saturday’s “Beginning Birding” workshop will be held at 2 p.m. at the Cacapon State Park Nature Center. It will be intended for beginners of all ages. Marci Heacker will show what features all birds share, and Park Naturalist Renee Fincham will lead a short trail walk to demonstrate how birds are viewed, identified and enjoyed.

Saturday evening’s program will feature two presentations. At 7:00 p.m., Marcy Heacker will give a talk entitled “Feathers 101; The Basic Anatomy and Function of Feathers.” At 8:00 p.m., Steve Huy will present “Birding With A Purpose,” which will include an overview of Huy’s early interest in bird migrations and raptors and a discussion of his current involvement with Project SNOWstorm, which tracks the movements of Snowy Owls.

The festival will wrap up the morning of Sunday, Sept. 22, with an 8:30 a.m. bird walk at Sleepy Creek Retreat, a mountainside property off Route 522 south of Berkeley Springs. The property offers sweeping views and a rich variety of habitats. It will provide good opportunities to see migrating raptors, blue jays and warblers. Jon Boone and Janet Ardam will lead this walk as well.

To help cover festival expenses, a $10 ticket will be sold for the Saturday evening program. Advance tickets will be available at the Nature Niche store and the Saturday daytime events. Tickets will also be available at the door.