Winter Wings Festival returns February 2023 | Ornithology … – Lake County Examiner


Clear skies. Low 2F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph..
Clear skies. Low 2F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph.
Updated: December 15, 2022 @ 7:08 pm

America’s oldest west coast birding festival celebrates the return of Bald Eagles and waterfowl on the Pacific Flyway to the Klamath Basin from February 17-20, 2023. It’s the 43rd anniversary of the Winter Wings Festival, which will offer a new Friday to Monday format with in-person activities and the return of festival vendors and children’s activities.
Bald Eagles are among the migratory birds highlighted during the 43rd Winter Wings Festival (www.WinterWingsFest.org), which will run over four days, February 17-20, 2023, during the Presidents’ Day Weekend. The primary venue for the event will be the College Union at the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls.
Winter Wings brings together birders and photographers of all skill and interest levels to learn and explore with top notch professionals and experienced local guides. The Klamath Basin is renowned for its wintering population of Bald Eagles, but is prime habitat for many other raptors, as well as an abundance and diversity of waterfowl.
In 2023 the festival will continue to provide a safe, in-person experience while celebrating the importance of the Klamath Basin in the Pacific Flyway. The festival will feature two creative and inspiring keynoters: singer/songwriter and birder extraordinaire Jen Hajj, and celebrated wildlife photographer Ray Hennessy. These speakers and many other skilled presenters will lead an assortment of field trips, workshops, presentations, and receptions that highlight the wonders of the Klamath Basin in winter.
The Klamath Basin is on the verge of tremendous change with the removal of Klamath River dams starting in Summer 2023. Friday presentations will highlight how restoration partners are preparing for this historic change, and how continued drought is causing regional conservation issues with a continental impact that requires creative solutions.
Birders can enjoy a diverse group of activities including field trips within and around Klamath Falls. Novice birders may benefit from one of the Birding Basics trips, a Raptors 101 workshop and field trip, or the Little Big Walk, where attendees can learn how to grow their bird list through small excursions in their local area. Intense birders may enjoy a Big Day trek around the basin to build their life lists – now offered on Saturday or Sunday. People can also round out their experience with a field trip to local hotspots, or educational presentations on the Belted Kingfisher or California Condor.
A host of professional photographers and specialists will be on hand over the weekend to share their skills and inspiration. Learn about conservation photography and how you can put your photos to work promoting wildlife conservation through social media. Spend a morning or two in the field honing techniques for photographing birds, whether raptors or waterfowl, from various locations around the basin. From comfy indoor photography of outdoor feeder birds, to maximizing your skills with manual focus, to being ethical in your pursuit of that frameable bird photo, there is something for every photography skill level and interest.
Whether you are a neophyte or looking for inspiration for refreshing your passions, the festival has a host of activities to suit your interests, but is not just for birders and photographers. Break out a sketch pad with last year’s featured artist, Christine Elder, and see how sketching can deepen your understanding and appreciation of bird anatomy and behavior. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the studio of world-renowned, local bronze wildlife artist Stefan Savides, and even take a special opportunity to photograph waterfowl at his private pond. For those looking to get out and about, sign up for an in-depth, educational tour of Lava Beds National Monument and three of their popular caves. And wind down and plan to get social with some of your new festival friends at the new Sunday night mixer at the Favell Museum.
Winter Wings is continuing its 2-phase registration process this year to make getting desired field trips, workshops, and presentations a little easier. Pre-registration for the festival began Dec. 13, which includes signing up for volunteer opportunities, the buffets and keynotes, and purchasing optional items like t-shirts and birding guides. This will allow you to input all your information, answer demographic questions, and pay for the festival registration and items purchased. On Dec. 27, the field trips, workshops, and presentations will open for registration.
The 2023 Festival brings the return of vendors and children’s activities at OIT. Vendors will be available Friday afternoon through Saturday, and free children’s activities will be on Saturday. For the complete schedule, program descriptions, and fees, visit the Festival website at www.WinterWingsFest.org and select the program tab. For more information email the Festival at info@WinterWingsFest.org or call 1-877-541-BIRD (2473).
The Winter Wings Festival is funded in part by a grant from Klamath County.
About Klamath Basin Birds: The Basin has historically been home to the largest concentration of wintering Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states – numbering up to 800 birds! Other visitors can include massive flocks of waterfowl and large numbers of wintering raptors on what was once the most important stopover of the Pacific Flyway. In winter there is the potential for 130 different species of birds. The Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex consists of six refuges, including Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, the nation’s first waterfowl refuge. The Pacific Flyway is a major north-south route of travel for migratory birds in the Americas, extending from Alaska to Patagonia. Every year, migratory birds travel some or all of this distance both in spring and in fall, following food sources, heading to breeding grounds, or traveling to wintering areas. Until recent history, the Klamath Basin supported over 80% of the Pacific Flyway migratory population. However climate change and water scarcity have created tremendous uncertainty in the long-term viability of this most important wetland landscape. Please join us this year for special Friday presentations on conservation and restoration to learn more!
About Klamath Basin Audubon Society: The Klamath Basin Audubon Society (KBAS) welcomes birders and wildlife enthusiasts to monthly programs, field trips, and other activities that enhance the appreciation of the spectacular beauty of the Klamath Basin. KBAS produces the annual Winter Wings Festival celebrating the largest wintering population of bald eagles in the lower 48 states as well as the abundance of all the birds that make the Klamath Basin home (see www.KlamathAudubon.org)
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