By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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SEQUIM –– The sky over the North Olympic Peninsula is filled with birds, as are every bush, tree and roosting spot — all of which will attract the many fans of the feathered who come to Sequim for the 2014 Olympic BirdFest this weekend.
The Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society's three-day fundraiser, which runs through Sunday, begins its 11th edition today.
“[The birds] are definitely out there. They're making a lot of noise,” said Powell Jones, director of the Dungeness River Audubon Center at Railroad Bridge Park.
The center at 2151 W. Hendrickson Road is the central roost for festival events.
Activities will begin at 8 a.m. today and continue at 6 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Expert guides schooled in the many scores of bird species — from bald eagles to woodpeckers — that fly above the Peninsula will lead classes and field trips at some of the world's richest bird habitat between Port Angeles and Port Townsend.
Many classes are sold out, but those who want in on the avian action can see what trips have openings and be added to wait lists on the BirdFest website, www.olympicbirdfest.org.
Events open for BirdFest-ers to attend as of Wednesday included the Totem Tour, expeditions to Dungeness Bay, 3 Crabs and the Dungeness Spit, and the Dawn Chorus at Railroad Bridge Park.
Members of the Jamestown S'Klallam tribe will provide a Totem Tour today and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
A $20 ticket purchases a trip to several of the tribe's facilities in the Dungeness Valley where guides will tell of the tribe's founding fathers and historic traditions.
The trip also includes a stop at the House of Myths, where tour-goers can see how totem poles are made.
There are three trips scheduled to watch birds frolic in Dungeness Bay at 3 Crabs.
Although the Saturday morning trip is full, slots were available Wednesday for 4 p.m. trips both today and Saturday.
The price is $25 and includes guided birding excursions at the mouth of the Dungeness River.
For another $25, BirdFest-ers can take in the birds of the Dungeness Spit, which allows views of loons, grebes, sea ducks and many more.
Openings remaining for the Dungeness Spit trip, scheduled for 4 p.m. today.
For the early owls, openings remain for local birding legend Bob Boekelheide's Dawn Chorus walk through Railroad Bridge Park.
Eagles, mergansers, creepers, warblers and dozens of other species make their homes in the Dungeness River's forest, and the 6 a.m. walk highlights their morning songs.
The cost is $15.
Noah Strycker, associate editor of Birding magazine and a noted nature photographer, is scheduled as the featured speaker at Saturday evening's sold-out banquet, silent auction and raffle.
In addition to Strycker's presentation, the event features a dinner and is the last opportunity to bid on silent-auction items that also can be seen and bid upon at the river center and online at the event website.
The Olympic BirdFest is a partnership of the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society, the Dungeness River Audubon Center and the Jamestown S'Klallam tribe.
Proceeds will go to the river center for its public education campaigns.
For more information, phone 360-681-4076, visit the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at email@example.com.