32nd Shorebird Festival arrives May 8-12

The shorebirds are coming, the shorebirds are coming!

Registration is still open online for the 32nd annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival, running May 8-12.

Co-hosted by the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and the Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges, this year’s festival will offer over 100 events for local and visiting birding enthusiasts of all ages, abilities and experience to celebrate the spring migration of Alaska’s shorebirds.

126 bird species were identified in the 2023 festival. Turnout for the five-day event also seemed to have returned to pre-COVID standards, Homer News previously reported, with 735 basic registrations and more than 2,800 add-on tickets sold.

The 2024 Shorebird Festival welcomes keynote speaker Ted Floyd, festival artist Torie Rhyan, and Schantz Scholar Adrianna Nelson.

Floyd is the longtime editor of Birding Magazine, the award-winning flagship bimonthly publication of the American Birding Association, and received the ABA Award for Distinguished Service in 2023. Floyd has written five bird books and has three more on the way, according to the festival program.

Join Floyd for his keynote presentation, “Birding and Nature Study in the Digital Age,” on Saturday, May 11 at 7 p.m. at Homer High School. Registration for this event is required; tickets are $10 per person. The Homer Bookstore will be present at the presentation with copies of Floyd’s books available for purchase.

Rhyan created this year’s festival artwork of a red-necked phalarope. Her work will be available in the First Friday opening reception at Land’s End Resort on Friday, May 3. Rhyan will also host a Festival Artist Workshop on Friday, May 10 from 9-11 a.m. at the AMNWR Visitor Center. During this workshop, participants will learn how to draw and paint the red-necked phalarope using watercolors. All supplies will be provided. Information on space limit and cost are available in the festival program.

A Festival Artist Work + Community Art and Adventure Auction Display will be held at Land’s End from May 3-11. Autographed posters and other merchandise featuring Rhyan’s work will also be available throughout the festival.

Nelson was named the ABA Young Birder of the Year in 2020 and has contributed several articles to ABA publications, “Birding” and “The Fledgling.” On Thursday, May 9 at 2 p.m., Nelson will give a free presentation, “The Seabird Connection: Linking Local Birds to Global Conservation,” in the AMNWR auditorium.

Other new events this year include a screening of “Purple Haze: A Conservation Film” on Sunday; birding trivia for all ages on Thursday and Friday; new outings on the Kachemak Bay offered throughout the festival, including a full-day tour to Seldovia and a tour to the head of the Kachemak Bay; a Steller’s Jay felt craft session for junior and teen birders on Wednesday, and more. Further details are available in the Shorebird Festival program.

The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, the Pratt Museum and Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve are key program partners and will offer education and fun activities throughout the festival for participants in a wide array of ages and skill levels, the festival website states.

For the full list of scheduled events and activities, as well as cost and registration requirements, find the festival program online at kachemakshorebird.org/.