The Great Salt Lake Bird Festival – Utah's largest birding event – is just a month away, and registration is open for all field trips. The 2014 festival is May 15-19, and features the long-billed dowitcher as the spotlight bird, with Tim Boucher from The Nature Conservancy as the keynote speaker.
Even if you think you've seen all of Utah's birds, you haven't seen them in the ways this festival presents. Birding field trips are available on horseback and by both canoes and kayaks, as well as pontoon boats on the Great Salt Lake. Many tours offer behind-the-gates options for birding in areas not open to the general public, and all tours are guided by local experts. Tours range from just a few hours or a half day to full day marathon excursions, and popular destinations with dedicated tours include:
- Deseret Ranch
- Antelope Island State Park
- Jordanelle State Park
- Glover Ponds
- Farmington Bay
- Willard Bay State Park
- Ambassador Duck Club
- Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge
- Promontory Point
Tour costs vary depending on destination, duration, and transportation, with some tours using participants' own vehicles and others arranged with group vehicles.
In addition to a wide range of field trips, many presentations are planned throughout the five-day festival, and there is something for all ages to enjoy. A make-and-take bird house project is available, student artwork will be on display, live raptor ambassadors will visit, and other Utah wildlife, including mammals, reptiles, and bats, will all be presented.