Submitted photo Lynn Tompkins of Blue Mountain Wildlife in Pendleton displays Ula, a golden eagle, during an earlier presentation at the annual Ladd Marsh Birdathon. Tompkins will give a presentation at 1 p.m. May 14 at this year’s Ladd Marsh Birdathon. Blue Mountain Wildlife rehabilitates wildlife. Ula has been with Blue Mountain Wildlife since suffering a serious wing injury after being hit by a motor vehicle. Submitted photo
A birding festival that may have no peer in Northeast Oregon will be conducted soon.
The sixth annual Ladd Marsh Birdathon is set for May 13-15.
“The event is a unique, non-competitive birding opportunity for the family and is free of charge,” said Ladd Marsh Wildlife Biologist Cathy Nowak. “We hope families will visit the wildlife area to go birding or just to get outdoors and enjoy the scenery.”
Commemorating International Migratory Bird Day, the event is scheduled at the height of spring migration and nesting in the Grande Ronde Valley. Few, if any, places in Union County have a more diverse bird population than at Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area. More than 200 species of birds either visit or live at Ladd Marsh.
The birdathon offers a once-a-year opportunity to view birds at places on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area generally closed to entrance to protect nesting birds and minimize disturbance during brood rearing.
Birders can enjoy increased opportunities to see an abundance of ducks, geese, swans, raptors, shore birds and passerines.
Scheduled activities begin the evening of May 13 at Eagles Hot Lake RV Park’s multi-purpose room, 65182 Hot Lake Lane. Registration begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the presentation “Owls of the Blue Mountains” by Mike Denney, longtime Northwest birder. Admission is free.
Saturday’s activities begin at 6 a.m. at the Tule Lake Public Access Area on Peach Road. At registration, participants will receive a passport directing them to six staffed birding stations and seven other “birdy” areas on or near the wildlife area.
Experienced birders will be at the staffed stations from
6 a.m. until noon to offer assistance and information to the public about birds and bird watching. A map of the wildlife area showing popular birding stations and open areas will be included in the registration packet. Birders will be encouraged to explore beyond the stations to a variety of habitats ranging from wetland to hawthorn scrub.
Kids activities, including building and decorating bird houses to take home, decorating a “Bag It for Birds” canvas tote, participating in the Junior Birder and Advanced Junior Birder programs and crafts will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The Blue Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation Center will be on hand with its educational team of raptors for an educational presentation on birds of prey. Lynn and Bob Tompkins, center directors, will talk about raptors and offer a close-up look at owls, eagles, falcons and hawks.
Optional guided field trips are scheduled on Sunday. Interested individuals are encouraged to pre-register as the trips fill fast and spaces are limited. There is a $10 fee to participate in the field trips.
Available spots can be reserved at the Friday evening activities. Information about the field trips and the registration form can be downloaded from ODFW’s web page at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/odfw_outdoors/workshops/ladd_marsh_birdathon.asp
The wildlife area will remain open all day Saturday and Sunday from 4:45 a.m. to 8:40 p.m. to those with Birdathon passports.
Participants can register and receive their passports at the Friday evening activities or on Saturday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday morning from 6 to 10 at the Tule Lake Public Access Area.
Lunch will be available for purchase Saturday.
Ladd Marsh Birdathon is one of thousands of events held around the world in observance of International Migratory Bird Day. Created in 1993, the day celebrates and supports migratory bird conservation and the increased awareness of birds.
The day serves as an opportunity to celebrate all the species of birds whose annual movements enliven local lands, waters and skies.
“The event is not only for birders,” Nowak said. “This is a great weekend for pheasant and waterfowl hunters to explore the area to find areas they may want to hunt this fall.”
Community events scheduled to commemorate the Birdathon include “My Fine Feathered Friends,” a children’s art exhibit May 6-27 at Arts East/Community School at Sixth and L in La Grande. The opening reception for this event is tonight from 5 to 8.
Also scheduled is “Art is for the Birds,” an open exhibit of art featuring birds running May 14 through July 2. The opening reception May 14 from 6 to 9 p.m. includes a wine tasting event.
The birdathon’s sponsors are the ODFW, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Friends of Ladd Marsh, Eagles Hot Lake RV Resort, the William Cusick Chapter of the Native Plant Society, Forest Capital Partners, The Plantworks, Hells Canyon Preservation Council and The Bobolink.
For information contact Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area at 541-963-4954 or the ODFW’s Northeast Region Office at 541-963-2138 or visit the ODFW’s web page, www.dfw.state.or.us/ .
Schedule of Events
Friday’s activities will be held at Eagles Hot Lake RV Resort, 65182 Hot Lake Lane
6:30 p.m.: Register and receive passport with information directing you to staffed birding stations and other “birdy” areas
7 p.m.: “Owls of the Blue Mountains” presentation by longtime Northwest birder Mike Denny.
Register for Sunday’s field trips
4:45 a.m.: Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area opens to public access with passport
6 a.m.: Registration at Tule Lake Public Access Area – Peach Road
Register and receive passport with information directing you to staffed birding stations and other “birdy” areas
Register for available spaces on Sunday’s field trips
9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.: Kids’ activities
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Lunch available for purchase
1 p.m.: Birds of Prey presentation by Blue Mountain Wildlife Center
4 p.m.: Registration closes
8:40 p.m.:Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area closes to public access
4:45 a.m. :Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area opens to public access with passport.
6 a.m.: Registration at Tule Lake Public Access Area.
10 a.m.: Registration closes
8:40 p.m.: Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area closes to public access