(Horicon) Bird watchers from throughout the country will descend on Dodge County this weekend. The Horicon Marsh Bird Club is hosting its annual ‘Bird Festival.’ Events kick-off today and run through Monday. DNR Wildlife Educator Liz Herzmann says activities range from full day bus and boat trips for experienced birders to free guided hikes for beginners who might consider picking up the hobby.
Highlights of this year’s Bird Festival include a keynote speech from birder and humorist Al Batt; ‘Mom and Me, Birding Together’, a beginner’s guide to birding, and bird banding demonstrations by Dr. Sheldon Cooper from UW-Oshkosh.
The Birding by Bicycle guided tour invites birders to peddle their way through the area. A Birdy Scavenger Hunt offers a unique way to explore the Marshes scenic views, sounds and enjoyment.
The festival begins with an Early Bird Bus Tour. Popular favorites include the Hot Spot Birding Bus Tour, Beginners Bird Hike, Birding Adventure Boat Tour, and 20+ other tours and activities planned by the Horicon Marsh Bird Club.
For the early morning birder, First Light Birding offers a glimpse of the birds at sunrise. At sunset, a Night Sounds Bus Tour is offered. Throughout the festival, the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, Marsh Haven Nature Center and Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center will be buzzing with interactive displays, programs, and opportunities for viewing birds at their observation areas.
At over 33,000 acres, Horicon Marsh provides habitat for endangered species and is a critical rest stop for thousands of migrating songbirds and waterfowl. It is recognized as a Wetland of International Importance and as Globally and State Important Bird Areas. More than 300 bird species are on the Horicon Marsh checklist.
Some of this weekend’s events require pre-registration. That can be done online at www.horiconmarshbirdclub.com.
Photo: Black-throated Green Warbler was caught in a mist net during a previous Horicon Marsh Bird Festival bird banding demonstration. Measurements were taken and a small band was placed on the leg in hopes that it will be caught again in future years to learn more about this species’ biology. Photo credit: DNR