Tuesday, March 31, 2020

It’s All About BIRDS & More at Rookery’s Festival of Birds


Photo by Kathy Johnson APA | Wood Thrush: Habitat loss for their feeding and breeding habitat is the major cause of the declining population of Wood Thrush.

Audubon’s new science shows that two-thirds of North American bird species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades if global temperatures continue to increase at their current pace.” ~ Renee Wilson, Audubon, Florida 

Rookery Bay’s Festival of Birds is all about the Birds and the local environment. This event invites members of the community to experience guided field trips to wildlife hot spots around Southwest Florida, along with informative lectures at the Rookery Environmental Learning Center. The Festival starts on January 17 through 19.  

On January 17, to kick off the festival, the Friends of Rookery Bay is sponsoring Dr. George Archibald, The expert” on cranes worldwide, as the keynote speaker. Over the last 40 years Dr. Archibald, the cofounder of the International Crane Foundation, has dedicated his life to saving the world’s cranes. This is a Not-To-Miss evening lecture so make sure to pre-register.  

The lecture will be a rare treat for the community to hear Dr. Archibald’s vision and leadership in international conservation over the past 40 years ever since 1973 when cranes were on the brink of extinction. He will be at Rookery Bay to share his storyIt will be a delightful and informative conversation about his travels, his family, his passion for birds and his “life with cranes.” 

The Whooping Crane is an icon for endangered species. It is the tallest bird in North America and is one of two cranes in North America. It suffered a major population decline due to habitat loss and over-hunting and was classified as Endangered in 1967. 

Grus Americana (Whooping crane) stands about 5 feet tall with a 7 feet wingspan. 

According to Audubon’s website, there are 15 species of cranes in the world and most of them, with the exception of the Sandhill Crane and three others, are threatened or endangered. The Florida Sandhill Cranes are a non-migratory species that nests in freshwater ponds and marshes. 



January 18th, Saturday lecture series at the Learning Center will include:  

  • Survival by Degrees on the 389 Bird Species on the Brink by Renee Wilson: According to Renee, just like humans, birds need food, water and a safe place to raise their young. Audubon’s science shows that two-thirds of North American bird species are at risk of extinction.  
  • Bird Bling: How Banding Birds Aids Conservation by Adam DiNuovo. Marco’s Beach and Coastal Resources of Marco funds part of DiNuovo’s Black Skimmer banding project on Big Marco Pass (aka-Sand Dollar Island). 

January 19th, Sunday Lecture Series will include: 

  • Burrowing Owls of Southwest Florida – Alli Smith. 
  • The Flamingo: Florida’s Forgotten Wading Bird – Anne Mauro. 

A wide array of adventurefilled field trips are being offered such as Ranger-led Canoe Adventure through Big Cypress National Preserve; Backcountry Swamp Buggy trip to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Swamp Tromp through Fakahatchee Strand Preserve, a Florida Panther National Wildlife Sundown Swamp Buggy Tour, or try the Big Cypress National Preserve Bear Island Panther Bike Ride. 

For Bird Lovers: A Kirby Storter Boardwalk Birding through Big Cypress National Preserveor the Big Cypress National Preserve Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Clusters. 

Registration is now open for the Festival of Birds. Three days of field trips and outdoor adventures are being offered. For more details and registration information, please visit www.rookerybay.org. 


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