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Spring Wings Festival celebrates birds with events for photographers, bird watchers and families

By ThisIsReno

spring_wingsFALLON — A migration of birds and bird enthusiasts will meet in Fallon, NV this May to view and celebrate one of nature’s most impressive seasonal journeys at one of North America’s richest wetlands.

The Spring Wings Festival runs May 17-19 in Fallon, and will include trips to nearby Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, which has received national and international recognition as a premier bird-watching hotspot and globally important wetland system. During the three-day event, guided tours allow birdwatchers of all levels to view some of the 280 bird species known to frequent the Lahontan Valley, including Black-necked Stilts, Long-billed Dowitchers and the American Avocet. The event will be based out of the Churchill County Parks and Recreation multipurpose building.

The Spring Wings Festival is held in conjunction with International Migratory Bird Day, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife-recognized celebration of conservation and bird migration. The sheer magnitude of the annual bird migration along the Pacific Flyway is staggering. Millions of birds travel all or part of the way between feeding grounds as far south as Patagonia and breeding grounds as far north as the Arctic tundra. Millions stop in the Lahontan Valley each spring to rest and feed before continuing north.

The Festival weekend commences Friday afternoon with the first guided tour and a bird carving workshop from 1 p.m. – 6p.m. The workshop will offer a hands-on opportunity to learn the basics of wood carving with all materials included. The cost to attend is $30, but seating is limited to the first 16 registrants. A live Falconry event lead by Master Falconer Marie Gaspari-Crawford will close the evening. It takes place from 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. and will feature live birds.

The Stillwater tours continue Saturday morning and afternoon. Nature photographers have two opportunities to attend a guided tour/workshop hosted by Jim Stamates, a Nevada-based professional wildlife and nature photographer, featuring in-depth lessons in lighting, subject poses, focus with telephoto and wide-angle lenses, and more. Families can visit the multipurpose building and enjoy fun, interactive and educational displays and exhibits about birds from 10 a.m. – 4p.m.

Tours conclude Sunday morning, and the event wraps up with a live bird release in the afternoon. Raptor birds rehabilitated in the area will be released back into the wild. This spectacular sight will showcase magnificent predators native to the Stillwater area. The event is open to the public and free of charge. The location is to be determined.

Registration for all group outings and workshops plus additional details on Spring Wings scheduled activities will be available the week of March 18 at www.springwings.org. Because space is limited, those interested are encouraged to register immediately.

For more information on activities around Fallon, call the Fallon Tourism office at 775-423-4556 or 1-866.232.5566.