Organizers hope for hurricane-free Birdfest

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 15, 2007

For the first time since its birth four years ago, the Alabama Coastal Birdfest doesn&8217;t have to deal with a Katrina, Ivan or Rita, which has Dr. John Borom pumped for the Oct. 18-21 event.

For the first time, the Birdfest will utilize the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources&8217; 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center on the Causeway for many of its activities, although the free Conservation and Bird Expo will still be held on Oct. 20 at the Fairhope campus of Faulkner State Community College.

Of the 20 tours planned for the Birdfest, one trip will be to Fort Morgan to watch researchers band hummingbirds, while one trip will go to Dauphin Island Sea Lab to go on a cruise in the bay to see pelicans and other waterfowl. Another group will go to the Bayou La Batre area and visit the Forever Wild Grand Bay Savanna.

Although the tours will start the morning of Oct.18, the opening reception is set for the 5 Rivers Center that evening with presentations by nature photographer Terry Hartley of Mobile and Dr. Geoff Hill of Auburn University, who will discuss the search for the ivory-billed woodpecker in the Choctawhatchee swamp in Florida. On Oct. 19, a dinner and silent auction is scheduled at the James P. Nix Center in Fairhope.

Borom said noted economist Dr. Semoon Chang of the University of South Alabama will conduct a study on the economic impact on birding in south Alabama, one of the reasons the Birdfest was created.

Of course, the defining event for the Birdfest is the free Conservation and Bird Expo from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20 in Fairhope.

The day is filled with educational fun for kids, as well as adults, speakers, workshops, birding videos, slide presentations, owl pellet dissections, presentations on how to make your yard more attractive to birds, just to name a few. The ADCNR will have a conservation tent where youngsters can get hands-on experience with a variety of animals, both land and marine, from the area.

David Rainer is with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.