Thursday, February 16th, 2017

Deborah Harger
City of Blaine

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Wings Over Water Northwest Birding Festival Celebrates 15 Years March 10-12

Wings Over Water Northwest Birding Festival celebrates the incredible variety of bird species that visit the premier birding areas of Blaine, Birch Bay and Semiahmoo located along the Pacific Flyway on the northwest corner of Washington State.

The 2017 Festival will take place on March 10, 11 and 12 with an all-day Birding Expo on Saturday, March 11 at Blaine Middle School, 975 H Street.

The festival offers birding adventures and activities for the whole family with events like Plover Ferry field trips, wildlife field trips, workshops, art exhibits and receptions, Birch Bay activities, keynote speakers, various cruises and even free events.

In 2001 a small group of local birding enthusiasts met to consider the idea of a birding festival in Blaine. The importance of the area as a gathering place for thousands of wintering birds was realized when Drayton Harbor/Semiahmoo was designated as one of 53 Important Bird Areas in Washington state. Shortly after that, the same locale became the anchor leg of the Cascade Loop of the Great Washington State Birding Trail.

In fifteen years, the Wings Over Water festival has grown to include an array of events and activities to suit birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts of every age and level of expertise. There are field trips and excursions led by knowledgeable birders that include a day trip to the George Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in British Columbia; a two-hour open water cruise on the 50’ Salish Sea; and shorter cruises on the Plover ferry from Blaine harbor to Semiahmoo. For those wishing to stay closer to the heart of the festival, the All Day Birding Expo will feature photography workshops, arts and crafts, wildlife exhibits and speakers, and lots of kids’ activities.

Everyone is invited to the festival opening and artist reception at Semiahmoo Resort on Friday evening at 5-7 pm.  Meet our featured artist Kay Dee Powell, enjoy hors-d’oeuvres, a no-host bar and featured presentation, Celebrating Drayton Harbor’s Bounty ($15).  All will be delighted by featured keynote speaker, Paul Bannick, OWL, A Year in the Lives of North American Owls on Saturday evening at 5 pm in the Blaine Performing Arts Center (Free).

There will be a full day of activities on Sunday at Birch Bay, beginning with a birding breakfast buffet and speakers at the BP Heron Center in Birch Bay State Park.

For a complete list of activities and events or to register for one of the field trips, visit the festival’s website at

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