Falcons and starlings and prairie chickens — oh my!

Detroit Lakes' 22nd Festival of Birds opens this Wednesday

The Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds, which begins its 22nd year this Wednesday, May 15, attracts birding enthusiasts of all ages. (Submitted photo)

The Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds, which begins its 22nd year this Wednesday, May 15, attracts birding enthusiasts of all ages. (Submitted photo)

You can always spot a group of Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds attendees by the fact that their eyes are trained on the skies above. (Submitted photo)

You can always spot a group of Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds attendees by the fact that their eyes are trained on the skies above. (Submitted photo)

Spring migration is underway in Minnesota, and that means the birders will be converging on Detroit Lakes for its 22nd Annual Festival of Birds.

The festival opens this Wednesday, May 15 with an afternoon social at Richwood Winery.

"It's free and open to the public," says festival organizer Cleone Stewart, though those who would like to sample some of the unique vintages bottled at the winery will have to purchase a wine tasting flight for $6.

After the social, which runs from 3-4:30 p.m., the birders will be headed over to nearby Maplelag Resort for a 5 p.m. dinner and 6 p.m. program, featuring avid birder and longtime DNR Nongame Wildlife Specialist Carrol Henderson.

Henderson will share the history of the peregrine falcon in Minnesota, whose recovery is one of the state's great wildlife restoration success stories, after being nearly pushed out of the region entirely during the early half of the 20th century.

After learning all about the peregrine falcon on Wednesday, birders will have an opportunity to attempt to spot one Thursday morning, when there are no formal field trips scheduled. A wealth of birding hot spots are available within an hour's drive of Detroit Lakes.

"We have seen a few peregrine falcons during the festival," Stewart notes, adding that Hamden Slough in rural Audubon and Bank of the West in Fargo are some of the best bets for spotting the majestic bird, which is considered to be one of the fastest movers in the avian world (up to 241 mph).

A map of birding hot spots is available at the Chamber of Commerce, where those who pre-registered for the festival can pick up their welcome packets between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

Online registration for the festival is still available at the Chamber's website, www.visitdetroitlakes.com, through this Monday, May 13. After that, latecomers can sign up in person at the Chamber office, 700 Summit Ave., or call 218-847-9202. Ticket prices for all festival activities can be found on the Festival of Birds webpage, which is located under the "Events" tab on the Chamber website.

Also on Thursday, the festival is offering a brand-new event — a bus tour of "Detroit Lakes area gems" from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

For full article, go to: Perham Focus

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