By Joan Carlson
Special to Peninsula Daily News
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“Bird festivals” rank right at the top of the list.
Bird festivals are held in various regions throughout the state and the Northwest.
One of the best ones is close to home.
The Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society hosts its 11th annual Olympic BirdFest on April 4-6.
Those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest know we have two of Nature's jewels when it comes to Clallam and Jefferson counties.
How lucky we are to have these special areas and what they offer for those who love the outdoors.
Start listing popular outdoor activities, and the North Olympic Peninsula not only has them all, but its spectacular scenery only adds to our enjoyment of hiking, camping, boating, fishing, hunting, outdoor photography and birding.
Birders come from all over the country and other parts of the world to see our birds.
Olympic BirdFest 2014 will focus on the region's birds while including other outdoor fun in festival activities.
The Dungeness River Audubon Center, 2151 W. Hendrickson Road in Sequim, will be the celebration's headquarters.
Field trips (which include boat trips) will visit several popular birding areas on the Peninsula.
The three-day event includes a wide range of activities, and the best way to see what is available is to go online at www.olympicbirdfest.org.
It is also possible to email the BirdFest committee for information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The phone number for the Dungeness River Audubon Center is 360-681-4076.
The address is P.O. Box 2450, Sequim, WA 98382.
The river center is a destination in itself, and if you haven't visited it, by all means take this opportunity to see what it is all about.
It's an information center for nature-related activities and wildlife, with the primary focus on the Peninsula.
Morning bird walks with the director have been part of its regular activities since its beginning.
They will be offered during BirdFest.
“Owl prowls” to hear and/or see some of the local owl species are always one of the most popular field trips.
They usually fills up fast, but there are waiting lists for the different outings.
Take a trip
Field trip destinations include Dungeness Spit, Ediz Hook, Neah Bay, Sequim Bay, Port Angeles Harbor, the Elwha River and Salt Creek Park.
Experienced birders will be leading these trips.
They are excellent for learning about what can be seen at this time of the year and where the best places are.
April is a wonderful time of the year when it comes to birding.
There is the opportunity to not only see resident bird species, but this is when winter and spring migrants are present.
By late April or early May, many birds will have left us and headed north.
Summer residents will be arriving.
This is when you never know what you will see.
Get a glimpse of how great Peninsula birding can be in early April.
Check out the bird list compiled from previous year's sightings.
When publicity for the festival states “you just might go home with a new bird for your life list,” it isn't joking.
If you have visiting birders who plan to spend some time with you during April, think about taking them to Olympic BirdFest.
The website created for this event also lists places to stay as well as other information that will make this trip easy to plan.
Activities other than birding include a silent auction and a guest speaker for the event's gala banquet.
Noah Strycker is known to be an entertaining speaker, and his program, “Bird World: The Fascinating Parallels Between Bird and Human Behavior,” promises to be fun and informative.
It's been a long, wet winter, and spring sunshine is a premier commodity.
Yes, there is plenty of yard work, but everyone is entitled to a few days of fun and relaxation.
Olympic BirdFest is just the ticket.
Joan Carson's column appears every Sunday. Contact her at P.O. Box 532, Poulsbo, WA 98370, with a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply. Email: email@example.com.