The 29th Annual Oregon Shorebird Festival happens September 4, 5, and 6 this year and features a variety of activities for birders from beginning to advanced. Sponsored by organizations such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, and Cape Arago Audubon Society, the festival is a celebration of Oregon shorebirds and an educational experience, with field trips, talks, bird watching, and shared meals.
The weekend kicks off with registration at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB) cafeteria in Charleston. The evening program begins at 7 and includes field trip information and the featured program, a talk about Bandon’s Washed Ashore Project. The talk is presented by Patrick Chandler, Washed Ashore’s Education Director.
This year’s field trips take participants to Coos Bay, Charleston, and Bandon. The Pelagic Trip on Saturday explores the pelagic zone. Sightings may include Black-footed albatross, Pink-footed Shearwater, and Northern Fulmar. Also happening on Saturday is the Shoreline Education for Awareness (SEA) Watch. Drive out to Simpson Reef Overlook on the Cape Arago Highway where SEA volunteers will have spotting scopes to view the Harlequin Duck, Surf Scoter, as well as seals and sea lions.
Happening both Saturday and Sunday are field trips to the Bandon Marsh and Beach, the best bird watching spots in Bandon where participants can see fall migrating shorebirds including Black-bellied Plover, Dunlin, and sandpipers as well as Surfbird, the Wandering Tattler, and Black and Ruddy Turnstones. For a bit of an extra walk, you can see the Western Snowy Plover which is federally listed as a threatened species. The Coos Bay field trip is also available both days where you can visit all of the hot birding spots around Coos Bay. See the Pacific Loon, Marbled Godwits, Bald Eagles, Great Egrets and more. Sadly, Sunday’s Birding South Slough via Canoe trip is full, but keep it in mind for next year! Sign up early as this is a popular trip, and spaces are limited.
Lodging for out of town guests can be found area hotels, vacation rentals and campgrounds as well as OIMB’s dormitory. Dorm stays are available Friday and Saturday nights for $20 a night and are bunk-style. Meals will be on your own, but food is easily found. A local spot called Monkey Business in the bright yellow food trailer in the Charleston Marina sderves coffee and hot breakfast items. Local deli Davey Jones’ Locker makes lunch boxes that can be pre-ordered the night before and taken with you on your field trips. There will also be an optional Sustainable Seafood Dinner in the OIMB cafeteria Saturday night. The menu includes Albacore Tuna, a salad, sides, bread, dessert and a drink. Tickets are $25 a person, and pre-registration is a good idea.
For more information about the 29th annual Oregon Shorebird Festival, visit https://www.oregonshorebirdfestival.org/