BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. – Bird watchers and nature enthusiasts are invited to learn about the many species of birds that occur in West Tennessee during the fifth annual Hatchie BirdFest June 2-4 in Brownsville.
The free three-day event offers a variety of activities for all ages including canoeing, hikes, educational seminars and bird related exhibits.
Official BirdFest activities begin 9 a.m. with a second excursion at 11 a.m. Friday morning with a canoeing event at Oneal Lake on the Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge. Ranger Tara Dowdy leads youth and adults in a canoe trip around the lake to identify birds and learn more about West Tennessee's refuge system.
Friday evening features an opening reception for attendees 6 p.m. at Temple Adas Israel, where guests can enjoy refreshments and music by the Dirt Pilgrims, a quirky, acoustic folk band from Jackson, Tennessee. National Partners in Flight Coordinator and wildlife biologist, Bob Ford presents "An Abundant Natural Heritage: Keeping Common Birds Common" at 7 p.m., followed by a question and answer session.
Saturday and Sunday activities originate at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center and include hikes, seminars and nature related exhibitors. Saturday morning hikes include treks designed for all ages with longer time afield for seasoned birders and shorter hikes for beginners and youth.
Guest speakers for the festival include Joe Guinn, noted photographer and Cornell University-trained bird recorder; Randy Hedgepath, Tennessee State Park naturalist and other regional experts. Seminar subjects cover plant selections for bird habitat, birding techniques, how to care for the environment and more. Participants can also learn about butterflies and wildflowers during the Saturday afternoon hike.
A Birds of Prey program featuring live bird demonstrations is held at noon on Saturday. The program utilizes injured birds through the rehab and environmental education program at Reelfoot Lake State Park. Rangers conduct the program that interacts with the audience and includes a Bald Eagle.
Sunday morning hikes are more informal and led by wildlife biologist and Partners in Flight Coordinator Bob Ford. Afternoon seminars are available.
New this year is a Sunday afternoon float trip on the Hatchie lead by Shawn Settle, Chickasaw State Park ranger and Randy Hedgepath. There is a $20 fee per canoe and participants must sign up by calling the Park at 731-989-5141. Shuttle service is available from the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center Sunday afternoon for this activity.
Exhibitors representing the Tennessee Ornithological Society and others are on hand to answer questions and share information throughout the event.
For pre-registration, a complete schedule and more information, visit www.HatchieBirdFest.com or call 731-779-9000.
About the Hatchie BirdFest
The Hatchie BirdFest is held annually on the first weekend following Memorial Day and presented by 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. For more information, visit www.hatchiebirdfest.com or call 731-779-9000.
# # #