Ruth Ann Angus
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Brown Pelicans With Heermann's Gulls in Background
Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival
by Ruth Ann Angus
The Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival is nearly here again. It's our 15th year of fantastic field trips, entertaining workshops and programs, discussions, presentations, and vendor offerings, but this year it's not just the same things we always do. This year one whole day is devoted to families. What's our mantra? The family that birds together stays together! Well, maybe not, but they do have more fun.
Family Day is just what it sounds like, a whole day of birding and nature activities for every member of the family to do together.
On Saturday, January 15th families can choose to learn to use binoculars and field guides while on a "Beginning Birding" field trip with Morro Coast Audubon leaders or they may decide to go out on the bay in kayak doubles to search for birds, harbor seals, and sea lions with members of the staff of Camp Ocean Pines.
Another fun event is the "Bird-For-A-Day" activity where each individual will acquire a bird name and will work through three stations where they will have fun with bird history and identifications, bird mouth parts, and bird feathers.
For something really different, families can join with biologist Dennis Sheridan for an up-close and hands-on experience—"Rubbing Noses with Reptiles."
A picnic lunch and puppet show are on the agenda and in the afternoon everyone can go to "Meet the Raptors," a presentation by Pacific Wildlife Care at the Veteran's Hall. This popular show features Hoot, the great horned owl with his fellow raptors, the American Kestrel, Red-taileded Hawk, Merlin, and a Peregrine Falcon. Attendees will see the birds close up and should be sure to bring their cameras. Shows are at 1 P.M. and 2:30 P.M. and are open to the public for a $2.00 fee—free for Festival attendees.
Another fun afternoon event is the "Critter Crawl" which includes crawling, slithering, and creeping around on the ground to search out bugs, insects, spiders, and more with the State Park Ranger. Or the family can "Learn to Track" on a field trip designed to point out animal and bird tracks and figure out what made them.
"Birds and their Tool Kits," presented by State Park docents, will show how birds use their bills, feet, and feathers to get along in the world.
It's a full day of fun and knowledge.
On Sunday a special family event is scheduled in the evening at 7 P.M. at Morro Bay High School featuring raptor biologist Kara Hagedorn and Sunshine, an injured Red-tailed Hawk. Kara will tell the story of how Sunshine, though injured, raised an orphaned chick.
Family Saturday events all start at the Morro Bay Natural History Museum. All ages are welcome. At least one adult must be in each family group and children five and under must be accompanied by an adult. The fee for the entire series is $35 per family group or is included with regular Festival registration. There is an extra fee of $10 for kayak rentals. To pre-register or for more information go to the web site at Morro Bay Bird Festival.