FARMINGTON - This festival isn’t just for the birds.
The Great Salt Lake Bird Festival, scheduled for May 14-19, gives bird-lovers of all ages and experience levels the chance to spend time with our feathery neighbors. With a host of guided tours all across the Wasatch Front, as well as activities and demonstrations at the Legacy Events Center in Farmington, there’s plenty for everyone to see and do.
“I always tell people it doesn’t matter what kind of birder you are,” said Neka Roundy, who organizes the festival. “Even if you just like looking at the birds in your backyard, the bird festival has something for you.”
This year’s featured speaker is Tim Boucher, a South African native and Nature Conservancy geographer who has gone birding in 47 countries and seen nearly 5,000 of the world’s 10,000 bird species. He’ll speak at the dinner Saturday night at 6 p.m. at the Legacy Events Center, sharing stories about his travels.
“The Nature Conservancy said they were bringing him into town and offered to share him,” said. “I’ve heard he’s really funny.”
Other activities planned for the Legacy Events Center include bird shows and presentations by several groups including Tracy Aviary, the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Ogden, Hawkwatch International and Sky Masters.
“They’re really cool,” said Roundy.
There are also several workshops available for all ages. A Boy Scout merit badge workshop gives kids the chance to get their bird study merit badge is only $5. Other workshops are completely free, and cover topics such as learning bird calls and bird-related crafts for kids.
"We really like to spotlight all the fun things they can do," she said.
There are also several bird tours available throughout all five days of the event. Boucher will be one of the guides for a behind-the-scenes look at Farmington Bay on Saturday morning, while a popular canoeing tour still has open spots on Monday.
“That never happens,” said Roundy. “It’s a rare opportunity.”
Participants will drive themselves to Brigham City, where the group will head out to Cutler Reservoir together. The festival will provide the canoes, lifejackets and a guide to help guests spend some quiet time with the area's native bird population.
“It’s really peaceful,” said Roundy. “You get to look at all these birds, and you’re kind of eye-level with all of them.”
For tickets to the dinner or to sign up for one of the birding tours, please visit greatsaltlakebirdfest.com. Prices and other details, as well as a complete schedule of events, are also available at the site.
"The festival brings families together and out into the open air," said Roundy. "It's a great spotlight for Utah and the Great Salt Lake."