Wildlife viewing opportunities at St. George Winter Bird Festival

ST. GEORGE – The 2013 St. George Winter Bird Festival, to be held Jan. 24-26, offers exciting opportunities to view Southern Utah’s unique wildlife up close and personal.

Event flyer

During the winter, many species of birds find St. George and surrounding areas an ideal location, offering prime viewing opportunities. Whether you are a beginner or longtime birder, you will find many attendees eager to share their experience and enthusiasm for nature.

All activities will be based at Tonaquint Park, Tonaquint Nature Center, Community Arts Building and Best Western Abbey Inn. Participants can attend any of the festival’s multiple presentations, workshops, exhibits or field trips for a $5 general admission pass, which covers the entire weekend. Children under age 18 are free.

Registration for events can be done online, by mail or in person. Please check the St. George Winter Bird Festival website for details.

Field trip schedule

Friday

  • Lytle Ranch – 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Discover an oasis of birds, desert shrubs, lowland riparians and pond habitats in the extreme southwest corner of Utah on Lytle Ranch. No more than 25 birders may attend each trip, led by rancher Larry Tripp.

  • Find the Vermilion Flycatcher – 8 to 9:30 a.m.

Marilyn Davis and Steve Hedges will find the Vermilion Flycatcher and take you to it. Cameras and binoculars are a must, for the flycatcher and other species including the roadrunner, eagles, hawks and rare sparrows.

  • Quail Creek, Sand Hollow and Hurricane Fields – 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Discover what birds are visiting and wintering at local reservoirs, ponds and agricultural fields.

  • Local Ponds and Halfway Wash – 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Visit a pond in the desert and walk the trail along the riparian ecosystem of the Halfway Wash with wildlife biologist Kevin Wheeler.

  • Washington Fields – 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Cordell Peterson of the Red Cliffs Audubon Society will lead birders to Springs Park Pond and Washington Fields to view raptors and possibly a burrowing owl and Vermilion Flycatcher.

Saturday

  • Photography at Lytle Ranch – 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Master wildlife photographer Lynn Chamberlain will lead eight birders on an exclusive photography field trip at Lytle Ranch.

  • Grafton and Springdale – 8 to 11 a.m.

Wildlife biologist Dan Trujillo and guests will explore the historic town of Grafton and other premiere birding hotspots along the river corridor.

  • Green Valley to Washington Fields – 8 to 11 a.m.

This trip will start at a pond in Green Valley and travel through Washington Fields. Guests will see many raptors and other fowl.

  • Quail Creek, Sand Hollow and Hurricane Fields – 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Discover what birds are visiting and wintering at local reservoirs, ponds and agricultural fields.

  • Washington Area Ponds – 9 to 11 a.m.

Experienced birders Ken Hinton and Don Hinton will visit several local ponds and the Virgin River riparian corridor in a nice nature walk for birders of all levels.

  • Zion National Park – 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Accompany wildlife biologist Christian Edwards in a visit to the Canyon and bird among the beautiful scenery. Carpooling and sharing of National Parks passes is encouraged.

Event schedule

Presentations, workshops and exhibits schedule

Thursday

  • Birder Social – 5:30 to 6 p.m.

Join fellow birders to view the Washington County student art contest entries and enjoy refreshments courtesy of local businesses.

  • Wintering Birds of Washington County – 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Rick Fridell, native aquatic project leader for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Southern Region, will deliver a lecture on the wide diversity of Washington County birds and their habitats.

Friday

  • Introduction to Birding – 9:30 to 10 a.m.

Wildlife biologist Kevin Wheeler of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will assist novice bird watchers in basic bird identification. Size, color, shape, habitat, field guides and proper binoculars will be discussed.

  • Attracting Birds to Your Backyard – 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.

Bob Douglas, wildlife biologist with the Bureau of Land Management, will share ideas for creating a bird-friendly backyard.

  • National Conservation Areas of Southern Utah – 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Tim Crossiant will dicuss the new National Conservation Areas of Southern Utah, places worth seeing and learning about.

  • What’s Happening at the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve? – 12:30 to 1:15 p.m.

Red Cliffs Desert Reserve Outreach Coordinator Cornell Christensen will provide an update on the reserve’s hiking trails, birding areas and rehabilitation efforts.

  • Bird Conservation of Southern Utah – 1:30 to 2:15 p.m.

Wildlife biologist Keith Day will bring listeners up-to-date with firsthand knowledge of surveys, statistics, conservation, problem solving and a general overview of the Southern Utah bird world.

  • Seven Easy Raptors – 2:30 to 3:15 p.m.

Nikki Wayment, Hawkwatch International education and outreach coordinator, will educate listeners on raptors, journeying from birth to maturity and beyond.

  • Conserving Utah’s Biodiversity – 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Washington County is an area of extraordinary biodiversity, with over 100 plant and animal species found nowhere else in the state. Veteran educator Marshal Topham will present this impressive variety.

Saturday

  • Junior Birder Program – 10 to 11:15 a.m.

Children have better eyesight and hearing than adults; put them to use learning about birds. This workshop, hosted by the Red Cliffs Audubon Society, will teach kids ages 8 to 12 how to find and identify birds through fun, educational activities.

  • Raptors, Raptors and More Raptors – 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Nikki Wayment, education and outreach coordinator for Hawkwatch International, returns to delight the audience with live raptors. Get up close and personal with these magnificent guests of the Winter Bird Festival.

  • A Bird’s Perspective – 12:30 to 1:15 p.m.

Have you ever wondered what birds are thinking? How high can a raven count? Why do some birds start signing before light? Ivan Richardson will lead listeners into the minds of feathered friends and explain the reasoning behind bizarre bird behaviors.

  • Bird Photography – 1:30 to 2:15 p.m.

Learn from Lynn Chamberlain how to get up and close to birds for the perfect photograph.

  • Marking Bird Houses with Home Depot – 1:30 to 3 p.m.

Let the little ones hammer up a storm, making a bird house with Home Depot representatives. This is great fun for kids and parents alike.

  • Ten Things a Bird Won’t Tell You – 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

If you could sit down and chat with a bird, what do you think it would tell you? Perhaps more importantly, how does it feel about birdwatchers? Join wildlife biologist Pam Wheeler to look at birding through a bird’s eyes.

  • Auction, banquet and keynote speech – 6-8:30 p.m.

The festival will conclude with a dinner and silent auction, plus a presentation on Capturing the Magic of Owls from keynote speaker Christopher Balmer.

For more information on the St. George Winter Bird Festival, visit the event website.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

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