A great horned owl in flight.

Creston Valley Bird Fest a celebration of birds, art and agriculture

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It’s springtime and the birds are singing about the fourth annual Creston Valley Bird Fest from May 13-15, a celebration of the birds, the art and the agriculture of the Creston Valley.

Guest speakers are Jakob Dulisse from Nelson, Gary Davidson from Nakusp, and Glynnis Hood from Camrose, Alta.

Dulisse, a wildlife biologist and photographer, has given several presentations in Creston about the birds, the frogs, the toads and creatures of the Columbia Basin. Davidson, a naturalist and wildlife photographer, returns to Creston after a winter in Panama with a plethora of bird photos for our enjoyment. Hood, originally from Creston, now teaches environmental science at the University of Alberta’s Augustana campus, specializing in aquatic ecology and beavers.

Monte Comeau, award-winning wild bird and nature photographer (www.comeauphoto.ca), will be giving away his secrets at the photography workshop. His photo of loons, Hitchhiker, was selected for the cover of Nature Canada out of 4,000 entries.

The festival begins on a Friday night with a chance to make new friends over local beverages while viewing Comeau’s photography show, then a supper by Demetre’s Catering, followed by field trips to three different locations.

On Saturday and Sunday mornings, eight birding experts will guide tours throughout the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area. All tours begin at the Ramada with coffee and muffins available at 6 a.m. Take advantage of an opportunity to learn about some of the 300 species of birds that frequent our valley. Find out why our protected wetland is designated as an Important Bird Area with international Ramsar status.

While the birds are sleeping, several afternoon events are happening. New this year are a kayaking trip with Paddle and Portage to a cormorant colony, and a tour of the food forest with Melissa Flint at the College of the Rockies. Other tours include a four-studio art tour by bus, a tour to Swan Valley Honey, a tour to Kootenay Meadows organic dairy and cheese factory, and an adventure with Rachel Beck to learn about medicinal properties of common plants. Canoe trips and a children’s event will be held at the wildlife centre.

Ed McMackin will be giving one-hour tours at Shikurski park on Sunday starting at 6 a.m. He has 40 years of experience as a naturalist in the valley and writes the Out There column for the Creston Valley Advance.

All participants are invited out to Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery for the wind-down wine tour Sunday afternoon at the rumoured home of the bluebird of happiness.

Throughout April, committee members are selling raffle tickets for Celestron binoculars, Overwaitea Foods and Real Food Cafe gift certificates, a Tigz gift basket, and a handcrafted birdhouse.

Registration in person is at the College of the Rockies 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and online at www.crestonvalleybirds.ca. Register early to avoid disappointment as some tours are limited.

—CRESTON VALLEY BIRD FEST

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