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Bird enthusiasts flock to Spring Wings: witness incredible event

By Miriam Hodgman

Great Egrets - Spring WingsSPRING WINGS NEWS RELEASE FALLON — Birds and birding enthusiasts flock to Fallon, Nevada, April 25-26 to take part in the 17th annual Spring Wings Festival. Fans of fowl gather to witness one of nature’s most remarkable seasonal journeys, the annual migration of shorebird and waterfowl through the Lahontan Valley – home to one of North America’s most significant wetland systems.

The Lahontan Valley Wetlands have earned national and international recognition as a “Globally Important Bird Area” by the American Bird Conservancy and an “Important Bird Area” by the Audubon Society.

The premier bird-watching hotspot holds guided water and land tours to allow bird-watchers of all levels to view some of the 280 bird species known to frequent the Lahontan Valley, including Black-necked stilts and the American avocet. The two-day event is based at the Churchill County Fairgrounds Complex, off Sheckler Road and Highway 95-S in Fallon.

“Spring Wings is huge for the birding community,” said Rick Gray, Fallon tourism director. “The wetlands in the Lahontan Valley are a true sight, and I encourage all levels of bird enthusiasts to come see what the festival has to offer and get familiar with the resources at Stillwater Wildlife Refuge and in the valley so they can return anytime of the year and have a great birding experience.”

The Spring Wings Festival offers new additions in 2014 including “People of the Marsh” a historical tour of the Stillwater Paiute tribe beginning Saturday morning at the Churchill County Museum and followed by a visit to Grimes Point Tribal wetlands; and “Birding the Historic Haunts of Fallon,” which takes birders on a mule-drawn wagon ride through the Fallon’s hidden historic past Saturday afternoon.

Along with the new tours, for the first time in the history of Spring Wings, festival attendees have exclusive access to the private Canvasback Duck Club within the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). During a relaxing canoe tour through the marsh, birders search for the elusive Bittern, Marsh wren and Sora rail, along with Great and Snowy egrets, and a variety of breeding waterfowl with the occasional raptor overhead. No birding experience is necessary and attendees have two opportunities to partake in the water tour: morning or afternoon.

For a full list of Spring Wings tours and additional details, or to register for group outings and workshops visit www.springwings.org. Space is limited and those interested are encouraged to register in advance.

The Friends of Stillwater NWR, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge host Spring Wings annually as a combined effort to educate others about the Lahontan Valley Wetlands.

For more information on Fallon activities and events, around Fallon, call 775-423-4556.

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