The Aleutian Goose Festival has been reinvented with a new name and date: the "California Redwoods Bird & Nature Festival" premieres May 6,7,8, 2011.
Every March from 1999 to 2008, the Aleutian Goose Festival celebrated the return of these endangered birds. Thousands of small Aleutian geese flocked to Castle Rock National Wildlife Refuge and the verdant fields of Del Norte County as a stopover on their spring migration route. Festival participants who joined the pre-dawn "goose fly off" witnessed firsthand the growing population of Aleutian geese each year and celebrated their recovery from near extinction. Today the Aleutian goose is a fully recovered species with a population surpassing 100,000. Sadly, the majority of geese that once visited our Crescent City shores each spring have moved on to "greener pastures" and now find nourishment in the rich bottom lands of Humboldt County.
The California Redwoods Bird & Nature Festival promises a better festival in many ways, notably because the festival shifts from wet March to warmer May. More birds will be migrating, courting, singing, and nesting. Alan Barron, Del Norte County's premier birder, reports that a single 'Big Day' foray one recent May observed 160 bird species. The new May date coincides with, and highlights, International Migratory Bird Day, celebrated every year on the second Saturday in May throughout the Americas. In addition, wildflower shows in Crescent City and Humboldt County occur on the adjacent weekends, assuring prime botanizing for native plant enthusiasts.
Rhododendrons will be glowing in the redwood forests and wildflowers everywhere will be showing off their blossoms. The high country of the Smith River watershed will be more accessible. The Klamath and Smith rivers will still be full of water for drift trips. Last, but not least, the weather will definitely be better-dry and warm (Organizers and participants remember only two sunny Goose Festivals in 10 years. This is no small thing as the horizontal rain cancelled ocean, lagoon and river boat trips).
Like its predecessor, California Redwoods Bird & Nature Festival will continue to focus on the outstanding natural features and cultural treasures of Del Norte County while offering many new programs and field trips. Keynote presenter Mike Fay, National Geographic's Explorer-in- Residence, will share discoveries from his recently completed yearlong 700-mile hike - Transecting the Redwood Forest. The weekend fare includes bird watching, nature excursions, plant walks, and local native heritage workshops. Much-loved community daytime and evening events from the Aleutian Goose Festival era will continue to delight attendees, such as the Wine & Food Tasting Gala, Wings & Whales Vendors Fair, Kid's & Goslings Corner, and Wild Birds of Prey on display.
So mark your calendars for this coming May 6-8, 2011http://calredwoodsbirdfest.org/