Birding festival takes off at month's end

The schedule of events for the 20th annual Stikine River Birding Festival has been put out.

Running from April 27 to 30 this year, the annual festival brings in ornithologists and bird fanciers from all over to appreciate the varied avian life living on and around the Stikine River.

Kicking off Thursday, April 27,

people can brush up on their observation skills in a Birding 101 crash course, held at the Nolan Center at 6 p.m. An

hour afterward, some short films on transboundary water issues will be hosted by Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, followed by a group discussion.

Early Friday, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. biologists with the United States Forest Service will demonstrate bird

banding and capture techniques for Wrangell schools. That evening at 6 p.m., a reception for the festival will be held at the Nolan Center, with

artwork and photos entered into this year’s contests on display. Entries need to be submitted by noon Thursday at the Nolan Center. Winners will be announced at the reception.

Following that, at 6:30 p.m. author Bob Armstrong will discuss his

nature videos and how to better enjoy the outdoors. Attendees can learn how to take videos and photo stills of their own using relatively inexpensive equipment and free software.

At 7:30 p.m., US Geological Survey scientist Dan Ruthrauff will talk about the hardy rock sandpipers, which winter in Alaska’s Cook Inlet.

The next morning, local author and birder Bonnie Demerjian will lead a group on a morning bird walk at 7 a.m., complete with a continental breakfast at Muskeg Meadows Golf Course. An afternoon walk at Shoemaker Bay Park will focus on edible plants, led by botanist Joni Johnson.

From 10 a.m. to noon, the first Wrangell Community Market of the year will ply wares at the Nolan Center. A “fowl food” cookoff contest will also be featured at the market, with the public playing the role of judge. Also at the Nolan Center from 11 a.m. to noon, people are invited to bring their own hammers and put together bird houses for their home.

For those wishing to stretch

their sea legs a bit, at 2 p.m. Breakaway Adventures will take people upriver for a tour of its birds and wildlife.

The evening rounds off with the annual Ducks Unlimited banquet, 6 p.m. at the Nolan Center. Those buying tickets by the 22nd will be entered into a special gun raffle. Call Keene Kohrt for details.

In its final day, at 7 through 9 a.m. on Sunday Gwen Bauss will demonstrate using mist nets and bird banding at City Park. Folks can stop by at any time to watch and even help release a few birds after banding.

Finally at 3 p.m. in the Nolan

Center, resident musicians will put on a tribute to the classics, playing a selection of Bach, Brahms, Mozart and Telemann.

Earlier this year the Wrangell festival was acknowledged for its mindfulness and dedication to conservation ethics, winning the 2017 Mindful Birding Award from the Mindful Birding Project. The award comes with a $500 grant, which was applied for by the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For more information on the event and activities, check out the festival website at


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