BROWNSVILLE, TN – April 10, 2019 – Bird watchers and nature enthusiasts are invited to learn about the many birds of West Tennessee during the seventh annual Hatchie BirdFest April 26-28 in Brownsville. The three-day event will offer a variety of activities for all ages and skill levels, including refuge clean-up efforts and hands on workshops.
The festival kicks off with a canoe trip departing 9 a.m. and again at 11 a.m. on Oneal Lake, Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge. Ranger Tara Dowdy will lead youth and adults in a float trip around the lake to identify birds and learn more about West Tennessee's refuge system.
In conjunction with Environment for the America's World Migratory Bird Day and efforts to reduce plastic consumption and waste, a Refuge Clean-up will take place Friday afternoon. Volunteers will focus on removing trash and other plastic debris hazardous to wildlife, including fishing line that poses a particular threat to birds, turtles and other wildlife.
Friday evening features an opening reception and presentation. Guests will enjoy refreshments and music by folk band Dirt Pilgrims. TWRA Farm Bill Program Biologist Gordon Counts will speak about the Federal Farm Bill support of wildlife, cost share programs and habitat objectives for quails and pollinators. A question and answer session will follow.
Early risers are invited to spend Saturday morning afield with experienced bird guides learning about the more than 200 species of birds who make their home on or are migrating through the Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge. Bring your camera and join the hands-on photography walk and workshop.
New to the festival is a Basic Birding course presented by Natchex Trace State Park Ranger Dustin Crowell. The two-hour class features classroom and hands-on instruction. The course fee is $10 and includes a Birds of Tennessee Field Guide by Stan Tekiela.
The popular Birds of Prey program with live bird demonstrations takes place at noon Saturday. This highlight of the festival utilizes injured birds through the rehab and environmental education program at Reelfoot Lake State Park.
Guest speakers throughout the day will cover subjects such as bird habitat, birding techniques, how to care for the environment and more. Participants can also learn about butterflies and wildflowers during an afternoon hike and Saturday evening includes a nocturnal walk around Oneal Lake to learn about "Creatures of the Night" with Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge Manager Brian Roberts.
Sunday morning hikes are informal and led by wildlife biologist and Partners in Flight Coordinator Bob Ford. You may choose to take a canoe trip down the Hatchie River. There is a $20 fee per canoe ($10 if you bring your own) and pre-registration is required.
Sunday afternoon seminars take place at Willow Oaks Flower Farm, Highway 54 North, where owners David and Sarah Levy will showcase their greenhouses and give a tour of pollinator plants. Experienced birder Larry Chitwood will also talk about backyard birding and the diversity of birds.
Members of the Tennessee Ornithological Society, Tennessee Wildlife Federation, Tennessee State Parks and others will be on hand to answer questions and share information throughout the event. All hikes and activities are free, except where noted.
For a complete schedule and to pre-register, visit www.hatchiebirdfest.com or call the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center at 731-779-9000.
About the Hatchie BirdFest
The Hatchie BirdFest is held annually at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, Tenn. The three day event features unique outdoor activities for all ages and is perfect for seasoned or beginner birders. Participants explore the Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge and other prime bird watching locations that serve as home to more than 200 species of birds. The weekend includes expert speakers, demonstrations, hikes and exhibitors. To learn more about the festival, visit www.hatchiebirdfest.com or call 731-779-9000.
About the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, in Brownsville, is a music heritage destination that offers a refreshing Southern experience showcasing the history and culture of rural West Tennessee. Inside visitors can learn about the history of cotton, explore the scenic and “wild” Hatchie River and get to know the legendary musicians who call West Tennessee home. Also located on the grounds is the Tina Turner Museum at Flagg Grove School, the childhood school of Tina Turner, and the last home of Blues pioneer Sleepy John Estes. The Delta Heritage Center is also a featured stop along the Americana Music Triangle connecting Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans. To learn more about the Center, visit www.westtnheritage.com or call 731-779-9000.
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