One of San Diego’s biggest nature and bird watching events will take place beginning February 27, 2014 and run until March 2nd. The 18th Annual San Diego Bird Festival promises some new adventures as well as some old favorites. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Our Coast”. The keynote speaker will be James Currie, the host of Nikon’s Birding Adventures on the NBC Sports Network. Special guest speaker Denver Holt of the Owl Research Institute will be leading two walks and have a special lunch time talk. All lectures and workshops, as well as all trip departures, will take place at Marina Village.
Most of the lectures, trips, and other events of the first three days require pre-registration and a fee. Walks along the San Diego River are free to all and do not require registration. This year, there will be several new lectures about how San Diego Audubon is protecting local birds. One unique activity includes doing hands-on work on a least tern nesting site. This activity also includes a lecture about the least terns. There will also be a two “owling” trips, a trip to Lake Murray, the San Diego Zoo and the South Bay and many more. Four special pelagic trips to see seabirds will also be held.
On Sunday, there will be the usual free “Family Fun Day” where there will be special family-oriented events, art classes, and walks. There is also free access on all days to the birding optics expo. At the expo, there will not only be birding-related optics to check out, but also books, souvenirs, and even live birds brought in from Project Wildlife.
There are two special trips before and after the expo. One is a special trip to Baja California, running from February 16-26th, where one can encounter gray whales and see birds that are endemic only to that area. The second trip is to the Salton Sea, beginning, March 3rd through the 6th, where many birds pass through or spend the winter there. Both trips are being organized through Andiamo Travel and early registration is encouraged.