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Festival celebrates migratory birds

The eastern bluebird is among the more than 100 species of birds that migrate through the Illinois River Valley each spring and fall.
The eastern bluebird is among the more than 100 species of birds that migrate through the Illinois River Valley each spring and fall.

UTICA — What do you get when you have a box of random kitchen tools, cases of water, wooden rings, wristbands, birdseed, whistles, feathers, beads, magic markers, and a variety of other odd items and then add in few hours of organization and the help of a few volunteers?

You get a Migratory Bird Festival!

Starved Rock Lodge will host their Migratory Bird Festival on Saturday, May 4, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Fox Ridge, the Lodge’s outdoor education venue located just steps from the Lodge’s main entrance.

Inspired by training from the Illinois Audubon Society, Edna Daugherty and Pam Rowe from Lodge’s Activities Department felt that Starved Rock would be the ideal place for a Bird Festival. The price of an all-day admission wristband is $5 per person.

More than 100 species of birds migrate through the Illinois River Valley each spring and fall. That is certainly something to celebrate. The event will include stations for attendees to visit as they complete their own migration experience. Everyone will be ‘banded’ and given a bird name and passport and as they progress through the festival, they’ll learn about the migratory species and the challenges they face as they travel along the Mississippi Flyway.

The Mississippi Flyway is the route that migratory birds travel between their winter and summer homes each year.

The festival is meant to raise awareness of this annual journey and to educate participants as to how important migratory birds are to our ecosystem. The stations included in the festival have great titles like The Great Migration Challenge, The Bird Buffett, Food for the Brood and Fill the Bill. Activities range from information stations to games and make and takes.

Participants can expect to have a great time and learn some new things about local and migratory species. There will be something included for all ages.

The day’s activities will culminate with an educational program presented by Hoo Haven Wildlife Refuge based out of Durand, Ill.

“Hoo Haven joined us for programs during Owl Prowl Weekend in March and we couldn’t be more excited to have them join our education team for our Migratory Bird Festival. They are designing a brand new program just for us,” comments Pam Rowe, Assistant Activities Coordinator for the Lodge.

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