For a natural spectacle, it’s hard to beat a birding festival! Of all the wildlife in the US, birds attract the biggest following. According to the recent National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, about 18 million people a year take trips to see wild birds.
Now is your chance! Grab your binoculars, camera and birding guide and make plans to attend the 4th Annual South Dakota Birding Festival. Herons, eagles, owls and hawks, to mention a few, are ready to sport their finest spring plumage for your watching enjoyment. And, you might even get to check a new bird off your list!
The event is set to take flight May 2-4, 2014 at Pickstown, SD. Birding enthusiasts will gather to hopefully catch site of hundreds of migrating bird species returning to South Dakota or heading to other parts of the country. The communities of Wagner, Pickstown and Lake Andes stand ready to welcome you for a super weekend!
There are many unique birding opportunities in this region. The Fort Randall location along the Missouri River, includes the Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge, the Karl Mundt National Wildlife Refuge, and the Missouri River itself; which are all major flyways for migrating birds.
The South Dakota Birding Festival offers a full schedule of activities beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 2 at the Rainbow Room in Pickstown, SD. Registration, a social and refreshments are on tap with a presentation at 7:30 p.m. by Dr. Dave Swanson from the University of South Dakota on “Identification of the Warblers of South Dakota.”
The exciting events will continue on Saturday, May 3 beginning at 6:20 a.m. at the Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge with birding field trips beginning at 6:30 a.m. – including a bird banding workshop. The birding field bus trips will begin once again at 12:30 p.m. The festival continues at 4:30 p.m. at the Wagner National Guard Armory where Lynn Barber will do a book signing for her publication Extreme Birder, One Woman’s Big Year. Also at 4:30 will be a program entitled “Landscaping for Birds” with Nancy Drilling from the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory. At 5 p.m. Lea Ymker with Fairway Seeds will discuss Basic Bird Feeding followed by the banquet at 5:30 p.m. The Armour Kindergarten Birders, along with their teacher Kelly Preheim, will do a program on Identifying Birds by Sight & Sound. Keynote speaker for the evening will be Lynn Barber on “Birding Big Years Come in Different Sizes.”
At 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 4 there will be a Bird Banding Workshop by Dr. Dave Swanson at the Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge. Following that presentation birders will meet at the Karl Mundt National Wildlife Refuge (meet at Fort Randall Chapel) for a field trip led by the US Fish & Wildlife Service personnel. The Karl Mundt Refuge is only open to the public during the birding festival. To end the birding weekend, a species check-off will be held at 12 p.m. at the Fort Randall Chapel.
Project Leader, Lake Andes Wildlife Refuge