The Birds Are Back In Town

Spring has sprung and summer is coming – and you don’t need to check the calendar to confirm this is true. Just open your window. Or better yet, open your front door and walk outside. You can not only feel it in the air, you can see it and hear it.

That’s right folks… the birds are back in town!

And if you are lucky enough to find yourself up in the Columbia Valley or down in the Creston Valley next week/weekend (or both!), the birds will be back in a very big and noticeable way. An amazing week of all things winged kicks off with the always popular Wings Over The Rockies Festival, which runs from May 8th – 14th in the upper Columbia Valley, and then the bird-related brilliance jumps into overdrive when our much loved Creston Bird Fest returns to the Creston Valley from May 12th – 14th.

There are far too many events to list them all, so here are just a few highlights from both festivals, starting with some of the Wildsight events happening at Wings Over The Rockies (well, those events that were not already booked out at the time of writing this post).

  • Tuesday, May 9 | Re-wilding the Wild: A Habitat Restoration Experience (Hosted by The East Kootenay Invasive Species Council & Wildsight Invermere) – Join Jessie at Sinclair Creek and gain hands-on experience learning to identify invasive plants in the field as well as invasive plant control and disposal methods. Participants will have the opportunity to get hands-on experience removing invasive species and planting native species in this habitat restoration workshop.
  • Wednesday, May 10 | Wild and Wacky Wetland Trivia (Hosted by Wildsight Invermere & Arrowhead Brewery) – Join the famous trivia host Richard Matthews as Arrowhead brewery and Wildsight team up for an exciting evening of nature trivia. We’ll battle through birds, bats, bears and beyond, all made better with beer!
  • Sunday, May 14th | Lake Enid Family Walk with Kim Urbaniak (Hosted by Wildsight Invermere) – Join Wildsight Invermere’s Kim Urbaniak at Lake Enid on a playful guided walk geared for young families. We will explore our surroundings, play some games, and make a craft to take home.
  • Saturday, May 13th | Breakfast with the Birds with Joan Dolinsky – Join Wildsight Golden at Reflection Lake Wildlife Viewing area for a homemade breakfast at Golden’s best local site for waterfowl watching. Binoculars, spotting scopes and field guides provided.

Find out more information about these and other events, as well as registration info over on the Wings Over The Rockies website (please note: events get booked very fast, so if you are interested in anything, make sure to register).

And here are a few event highlights from Wildsight Creston’s Bird Fest 2017 (again, those events that were not already booked out at the time of writing this post).

  • Friday, May 12th | Meet and Greet, Welcome Buffet and Two Presentations – Mingle and meet new birding friends over a Creston Valley glass of wine, a bottle of beer, local apple juice, tea, and coffee. Featuring a fantastic display of wild bird photography by festival artist and photographer Monte Comeau of Salmo.
  • Saturday, May 13 | Keynote Speaker – Brian Keating, A Natural Relationship – To celebrate the 5th year of the Creston Valley Bird Fest, Brian Keating, well-known adventure traveller and naturalist, will give an all new presentation with stories and video segments especially selected for the Creston audience.
  • Saturday, May 13th and Sunday, May 14th | Brian Baxter (Libby, Mt.) Raptor Search by Bus – Brian attended Forestry school at Penn State School of Technology, and Wildlife Management education at Western Carolina. He has over 38 years experience in the field, working in the U.S. and B.C. as a wildlife researcher, forester, and land surveyor.
  • Sunday, May 14th, 2017 | Birding with Ed McMackin – Four one-hour birdwatching sessions with biologist Ed McMackin. Ed has been birding in the valley for over 40 years and is excellent at bird identification by sound.

Find out more information about the Creston Bird Fest and register online (events get booked very fast, so if you are interested in anything, make sure to register).

And while we’re on the topic of birders and birds, here’s a quick summary of the recently completed Columbia Wetlands Waterbird Survey from Program Biologist Rachel Darvill:

“The third year of the spring Columbia Wetlands Waterbird Survey (CWWS) was very successful yet again! Dozens of keen birders headed to the wetlands on three days during the spring migration this year. Preliminary results show that we were able to count over 23,000 birds, which is our highest count thus far for the spring bird migration counts, which began in 2015.”

Once all 23,000 bird sightings have been tabulated, we’ll share this year’s CWWS results in more detail. But until then… make sure to check out Wings Over Rockies (May 8th – 14th) and Creston Bird Fest (May 12th – 14th) because there are probably another 23,000 bird sightings to be had in the meantime.


Top and bottom image by Monte Comeau