Festival of the Birds
Presque Isle Audubon Society
and PA DCNR
For lodging information check out www.visiteriepa.com
What to Bring:
Be sure to bring comfortable shoes or boots for walking and any birding gear you desire. The average high temperature in Erie in May is 56 and temperatures at Presque Isle are often lower than on the mainland. Be prepared for cold & rainy weather. Presque Isle is home to deer ticks so you may want to bring insect repellent and plan to tuck your pants into your socks when using the trails on the park.
THANK YOU TO OUR MANY FAITHFUL DONORS FOR THE
2015 FESTIVAL OF THE BIRDS !
GREAT BLUE HERON
RED HEADED WOODPECKER
Friends of the Tom Ridge Environmental Center
Kal Darres - Petra
Dennis and Barb Cole Erie Community Foundation Michele Franz / Line-X Erie Marti and Tony Pastore Mary Birdsong and Mike Plyler Wild Birds Unlimited
Nancy and Ken Anderson Paul Burroughs – Quinn Law Firm Marion Gallivan
Delores Tavares and Joao Tavares
Blue Iris Winery
Birds and Beans Coffee
Edward and Nancy Group
H & K Donuts
Lechner and Benson Advertising Design Mazza Wines
Nature Shop at the TREC
Sara’s at Presque Isle
Wegman’s – Peach Street
Wild Birds Unlimited
SMASHING RECORDS: THE SEVENTH FESTIVAL OF THE BIRDS 2015
You couldn’t have hoped for a better weekend! This year’s Festival of the Birds sponsored by Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Presque Isle Audubon was our seventh and It was all good – no, more than all good, it was the best. Three days of excellent weather and a record intake of revenue were the icing on the cake. So many records were broken and what a thrill that was!
Registrations were up from previous years. Our faithful volunteers welcomed birders with a smile and a welcome bag as they checked in. The birders loved the contents of their recyclable bags which held more treasures than ever before: Ted Floy’s Field Guide to Birds of North America, an updated bird checklist by Jerry McWilliams and free tickets for auction items displayed in the lobby. Items donated by numerous individuals who believe in Presque Isle Audubon’s mission appealed to registrants who purchased tickets for items they wanted while contributing to record funds collected.
Friday night’s reception at the TREC was “great fun” and the mood was one of camaraderie as attendees enjoyed entertaining guitar music by Frank Singer. Everyone munched the mouth-watering food provided by Kal Darres of the Sunset Café. Pulled pork sliders; juicy, succulent meatballs and fresh veggies and dip were satisfying and accompanied by beverages that quenched the thirst and were generously provided by Mazza Wineries, Blue Iris Wineries and Brewerie. The reception ended at the TREC but continued on Presque Isle State Park where birders hoped to see and hear woodcock and whip-poor-wills.
After enjoying some coffee and snacks at the Rotary Pavilion on Saturday and Sunday mornings, birders who ranked leaders as expert, knowledgeable, friendly and helpful were led to the trails of their choice. The fact that there were small groups on the field trips was noted and appreciated. The Pontoon Boat was filled with birders each day during the trips as the pilot steered silently through the lagoons and an Audubon member pointed out the birds along the way.
It was during these field trips on trails and in the lagoon on Saturday and Sunday that a record number of bird species was spotted, 169. The number of warblers on their way to their breeding grounds was 26, the most recorded during a festival.
The scheduled workshops were attended in record numbers and those who participated were quite impressed and learned a lot, so they said. Our presenters, experts in their fields, shared information on subjects such as Intro to Beginning Birding, Bird Photography, Attracting Birds to Your Yard, Jeopbirdy and Shorebird ID.
The bird banders at Fry’s Landing during the weekend welcomed festival participants who visited their station. Sarah Sargent and Laura- Marie Koitsch were great at explaining the bird banding process. They showed how they captured birds in the mist nets, recorded data and fastened bands on the birds’ legs. Each birder had a close-up look at species they usually see only at a distance and some even had a chance to hold and release a bird.
Late Saturday afternoon, classrooms were reorganized and a dining room was created. Hungry birders whose appetites were fueled by a long day of birding, hiking, fresh air and sunshine responded to a call for dinner and lines queued past the scrumptious looking buffet that appealed to the senses of sight and smell. Slices of pork tenderloin with apple salsa, fresh green asparagus strewn with sliced red peppers and colorful carrot salad made everyone’s mouth water. The garlic mashed potatoes were irresistible. Each one’s palate was satisfied as they sat down to share the meal with fellow birders, now friends. Small fruit tarts, cream puffs and decadent chocolate were enjoyed before trekking over to the Big Green Screen Theater to hear George Armistead present pOrnithology: the Birds and the Bees.
The festival committee members included Janet Price, Chuck Benson, Holly Best, Mary Birdsong, Anne DeSarro, Michele Franz, Marion Gallivan, Pat Howell, Ron Intrieri, Kel McDonald and Susan A. Smith. They had carried out their duties impeccably and met to discuss feedback from all sources. Comments from birders and committee members were heard and considered. Notes were taken about issues of concern and about matters that could be improved. Everyone was enthusiastic about the results of the 2015 festival and that same emotion was carried into the planning for next year’s event. Committee chair positions were filled. The keynote speaker for 2016 had already been contracted and the theme bird is on the keynote’s book, The Sibley Guide to Birds, Second Edition, which will be in next year’s welcome bag. The bird is the Magnolia Warbler and the keynote speaker and author is DAVID SIBLEY! Will we expect to see you there to experience this better than ever Festival of the Birds at Presque Isle in 2016? Please come. You’ll have a smashing good time!
~Janet Price, Festival of the Birds Chair