Birding event fun for the whole family

Published 10:02 am Friday, May 15, 2009

The sixth annual Oak Savanna Birding Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine.

Many of the activities will be held Saturday at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center, but others include bird tours to eastern Mower County and into Freeborn County.

The schedule of Ruby Rupner Auditorium indoor activities includes a bald eagle’s visit and the bird-art show featuring the works of local fifth grade students.

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According to organizer Terry Dorsey, the festival is designed to be fun and educational and to generate more importance about the presence of birds.

A special feature of the 2009 festival, said Dorsey, is a package deal offered by the sponsors.

What: Sixth annual festival includes bird tours of Mower and Freeborn counties, a bird-art show, bird walks, games and more.
When: Tours begin at 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Jay C. Hormel Nature Center
How much: $30 for weekend

“For a weekend cost of $30, people can participate in two field trips, have a great lunch while bragging about the great species that flew at just the wrong time and see a live bald eagle guaranteed,” Dorsey said.

The eagle program is free to everyone Saturday.

“Local experts, who are extremely helpful to beginning birders, lead the field trips,” Dorsey said.  “Instruction and hints about identification encourage novices to start what could become a life-long hobby.”

The tours begin at the J.C. Hormel Nature Center at 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

One tour covers eastern Mower County including Lake Louise State Park and the other, western Mower County and Myhre Big Island State Park, Albert Lea.

The sixth annual fifth grade bird-art show begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, according to Dorsey, with the Bird Migration Survival Game.

The eagle show begins at 2 p.m. Saturday with Scott Mehus from the National Bald Eagle Center. Families are invited to attend.

Awards for bird-art will be presented at 3 p.m., when T-shirts for those who survived the Migration game will be distributed.

Free family bird walks begin at 3:30 p.m. Saturday and everyone is encouraged to attend. Dorsey will be a tour guide.