The 9th Annual Port Susan Birding & Snow Goose Festival will be held:

February 22 & 23, 2014


To download maps, lists and other items that you can use for planning your Festival outings please visit our Downloads page.

Port Susan Snow Goose & Birding Festival

The 9th Annual Festival - February 22 & 23, 2014

Port Susan Snow Goose & Birding Festival
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Event listing for the 2014 Port Susan Snow Goose & Birding Festival

Below is a complete listing of 2014 Fesival activities sorted by activity type and beginning time.
To view detailed information and times - click on one of the "+" signs below.


Speakers & Seminars

+ Shorebird I.D. Class


Gary and Ruth will again welcome those festival goers who are looking to gain skill in identifying common shorebirds found in the North Puget Sound. Participate in a fun-filled presentation where biologists will give pointers on how to differentiate shorebirds based on their feeding ecology, habitat and morphology.

+ Swans of Winter


Martha Jordan, well-known swan biologist, will present a program on Washington’s native Trumpeter and Tundra swans. You will learn about their life history, biology, and some swan identification tips. She will shed some light on the problems and controversies these birds face on their wintering grounds and what is needed to insure their future. Get updated on the swan lead poisoning die-off, habitat issues and more. Martha will share some excellent photos that help clarify the difficult identification of these swans. Pick up a free Swan Identification Pamphlets at the meeting.
Trumpeter Swans, the largest waterfowl in the world, have been brought back from the brink of extinction and once again grace our skies and waterways. They trumpet the success of our efforts and continue to call us to action for conservation of farmland and wetlands. Come, share and learn the facts, myths and legends of the swans of Washington’s winter.
You will also discover ways in which you can contribute to our understanding of swans in Washington just by doing what you already do outdoors.

+ From Russia to the Stilly


Vasiliy Baranyuk, senior scientist with Russia’s Wrangel Island Nature Preserve, has spent more than 20 years observing the snow geese that migrate between Wrangel Island and North Puget Sound. Vasiliy will talk about these iconic birds and their summering grounds in the Russian Arctic. Using stunning photographs and video, Vasiliy will present a personal glimpse of Wrangel Island and its rich nesting grounds.

+ Meet Live Raptors with Kestrel Skyhawk


Kestrel Skyhawk, from Sarvey Wildlife Center, returns to the Festival with some of her avian friends – birds that have been rescued by Sarvey, but are unable to be released back to the wild. This is a unique opportunity to see various birds at close range, and to learn about their unique characters and behaviors.  Learn more about Sarvey’s mission to rescue and rehabilitate injured wildlife, and what you can do to help.

+ Celebrating the Skagit Bay Important Bird Area of Global Importance

Ruth Milner, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife District Biologist (for Island and Snohomish Counties) will discuss why Skagit Bay has been designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) of Global Importance. An IBA is a site that indicates a unique importance for birds; Skagit Bay is important because of the Snow Geese, Trumpeter and Tundra Swans and Dunlin that frequent the area.

+ The Art of Photographing Birds


Wildlife Photographer, Karen Ulvestad will help you learn bird photography techniques through visual examples and lecture. There will be tips for locating birds, the best camera equipment to use, and the importance of keeping a journal. There will be much more, and ample opportunity for questions.

Karen work has been published in magazines, brochures, websites and cards. She writes a photography blog on destinations, techniques, and tips. She has given photography presentations at bird festivals and other events and has taught photography workshops in Washington and Oregon.

+ Reintroduction of the Western Bluebird to the Pacific Northwest


Gary Slater, Executive Director of the Ecostudies Institute will bring us up-to-date on the ongoing efforts to bring the Western Bluebird back to the Pacific Northwest. The Western Bluebird (Sailia Mexicana) was a common inhabitant in oak-prairie and other open habitats in western Washington and southwestern British Columbia until the early-1900’s when habitat loss and fragmentation and competition for nest cavities from exotic species triggered a wave of extirpations across the region. Since 2007, Ecostudies Institute and other conservation partners have been working to restore a regional population through reintroduction. Join Gary as he talks about the first successful reintroduction of a migratory passerine species in North America, the progress and setbacks to this conservation program and the important role that private landowners play in the recovery of this iconic species.



+ Nature Conservancy Port Susan Preserve (Guided Tour)


Please stop by the registration desk at the Festival HQ to check tour availability or to place your name on the "stand-by" list.

Not currently open to the public, the Port Susan Bay Preserve safeguards some of the finest estuarine habitat in the Puget  Sound. Its emergent marshes, vast mudflats, and tidally influenced channels support hundreds of thousands of birds, Western sandpipers, dunlins, and dowitchers swoop over the mudflats. Wrangel Island snow geese gather by the thousands on nearby fields. And raptors, from peregrine falcons to short-eared owls, add to the drama. Dress warmly and bring your binoculars.

+ Shorebird Tour (Guided Tour)


Please stop by the registration desk at the Festival HQ to check tour availability or to place your name on the "stand-by" list.

Join us as we venture out towards the estuary to seek out the large flocks of Dunlin moving across the mudflats in Port Susan Bay.  We also will stop to see other iconic birds of the delta, such as swans, eagles, and other raptors.  A member of the Pilchuck Audubon Society will lead the tours, and Rob Butler and Charles Duncan, the invited keynote speakers for the Saturday evening celebration, will be on hand to help out.  Butler will help with the tour on Saturday and Duncan will be with us both days.  Before the tour, consider taking the shorebird I.D. class on Sat morning. 

+ Snow Geese and Trumpeter Swans (Bus Tour)


Please stop by the registration desk at the Festival HQ to check tour availability or to place your name on the "stand-by" list.

Leave the driving to us! Take a bus to see thousands of Snow Geese and Swans feeding in fields and farmlands near Stanwood. Your tour guide is biologist who has been guiding these tours since the Festival began.  The relationship between farmers and birders is a delicate one, and we encourage you to join us on a tour designed to get you close to the birds without invading a working farm.

+ Iverson Spit, Camano Island (Guided Tour)


This walk provides the opportunity to view a variety of habitats including marshland, bay and wooded walk.   Visitors will see dabbling and diving ducks, hunting raptors, heron and frequently snow geese. Dress warmly and bring your binoculars.

+ The Big Ditch, Stanwood (Self Guided Tour)


A long walk along the dike between farmlands, a river and the bay, the Big Ditch is often a great spot to see snowy owls, short-eared owls, harrier hawks, dabbling ducks.  This can also be a good location to see snow geese passing by in large “V’s” or in the nearby fields.

+ English Boom, Camano Island (Self Guided Tour)


This newly renovated Island County Park with it’s boardwalk provides an ideal location for viewing eagles, diving ducks, loons, heron and more. Parking is limited


Special Events & Workshops

+ Owl Nest Box Building Workshop


In support of native owl populations, Puget Sound Bird Observatory (PSBO) is offering a nest box building event. The intent is to construct small owl nesting boxes for installation in local landscapes with appropriate habitat. Kits are pre-cut for easy assembly. Instructions for appropriate placement will be provided. Families are welcome! PSBO is asking for a $15.00 materials fee to be paid by cash or check made out to PSBO at the workshop.

+ Art Show


+ Children's Activities


____Activities this year include:
________- Paper Crafts
________- Owl Pellet Dissection
________- Pinecone Bird Feeder
________- Hanging Bird Nesting Material Holder
________- Fiber Arts with Nancy Brown and Dena Royal
____________(begins at 1:30 PM)
________- Bird Fact Treasure Hunt -
____________Complete the hunt for a chance to win prizes!

Festival Notes: