The morning kicked off at 7:00 am with a series of well-attended bird walks, for all ages and abilities. A highlight from the walks included a Black-billed Cuckoo that several groups were able to both hear and see. The walks culminated at 9:30, when Bridget Butler, The Bird Diva, gave her "Birdsong Tune-Up" walk and talk on birding by ear.
Concurrently, NBNC staff ran a banding demonstration, and Outreach for Earth Stewardship introduced participants to rehabilitated hawks and owls. Nona Estrin, local author/illustrator and naturalist, gave a workshop on drawing birds in their natural habitats, and Sandy Parr, from the UVM Extension Master Gardeners gave a workshop on gardening for birds.
Under the main tent, participants learned about Bird-Friendly Maple Syrup, from Audubon Vermont, Bird-Friendly Coffee, from Birds and Beans, and voted for the winner of our annual bird photography contest. T-shirts with our 20th anniversary Kingfisher design and Raffle tickets for the Capital Campaign were both for sale.
Under the kid's tent, children turned into owls, as they decorated and wore masks and paper wings. They also built soda bottle bird feeders and construction paper bird ornaments. Families had the opportunity to build a wren house to keep, or build a wood duck box that will be put up in North Branch River Park.
Wood-fired pizza was made and devoured on-site, donated by WoodBelly Pizza. Other food donations included ice cream from Arnie's Ice Cream, bagels from Maria's Bagels, cheese from Cabot Creamery, and cookies from Birchgrove Bakery.
The day came to a close with a sobering talk about climate change and the future for tidal marsh birds, by NBNC Teen Naturalist Club alum Alyssa Borowske. Follwing remarks by Chip, prizes were handed out to the winners of our drawing and photography contests. In all, over 200 people were present, representing nearly 30 Vermont towns (plus a smattering of folks from as far as New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Montreal, Tennessee, and South Carolina!).
Thank you to all who volunteered, attended, and helped spread the word! We would also like to thank and acknowledge our sponsors who helped make BirdFest possible:
Rock of Ages
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Woodbury Mt Toystore
Birds and Beans
Arnie's Ice Cream