Traverse City Festival of Birds Celebrates Michigan Birds in Music, Arts and Community Activities

Michigan birds and Michigan birding are the focus of the first annual Festival of Birds in Northern Michigan, a weekend in which local nature lovers, artists and musicians collaborate to expose people of all ages to the beauty and mystery of Michigan birds.

The kick-off for the first annual Festival of Birds takes place Friday, May 21, at the City Opera House (take a video tour of the City Opera House) in downtown Traverse City. The interactive event will feature live musical performances by popular acts including Breathe Owl Breathe and Mike Moran (watch and listen to Mike Moran), educational wildlife and nature booths, and an opportunity to see some of the area’s most spectacular species of bird up close in person. This event is a benefit for Wings of Wonder Raptor Rehabilitation Center in Leelanau County.

The non-profit raptor sanctuary Wings of Wonder will be on hand Friday night to present a variety of live birds on stage during the event, including hawks, falcons, owls and vultures. The Empire organization is one of only a handful of sanctuaries in the state dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of injured and/or orphaned raptors. During Breathe Owl Breathe’s first set, a different bird will be brought out at the beginning of each song and have its story told to the audience. Derek Bailey, Chairman of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, will make a special introduction of the Redtail Hawk during the event, accompanied by the Medicine Lodge singers and drummers.

The festival will continue the following day – Saturday, May 22 – with area wildlife and nature events, including regional morning bird walks, native and bird landscape workshops, tours of Wings of Wonder, a Boardman River Nature Center plant sale, bird banding workshops, and tours of Saving Birds Thru Habitat.

Festival of Birds Event Calender

Friday, May 21

Porterhouse Productions is pleased to present the music of Breathe Owl Breathe and Mike Moran, Tribal Chairman Derek Bailey, Medicine Lodge Singers, and  Live Raptors On Stage in a benefit for Wings of Wonder Raptor Rehabilitation Center.  6:30 p.m. Friday, May 21 at the City Opera House in Traverse City. Doors to the City Opera House event open at 6:30 p.m., with performances starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for general admission or $5 for youth (18 & under) and are available for purchase at Oryana (231-947-0191), the City Opera House (231-941-8082), or online at PorterhouseProductions.com.

Saturday, May 22

8:00 a.m. – Benzie Audubon Club
Doug Cook (231-352-8159) of the Benzie Audubon Club will lead a trip along the Betsie Valley Trail to help birders develop their identification skills. There should be enough warblers around to challenge everyone! Location: Adams Road parking lot on River Road (Benzie County #608) Frankfort and Beulah. www.benzieaudubon.org

8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Grand Traverse Conservation District Annual Native Plant Sale
Restore nature and the beauty of your backyard! Choose from over 30 species of native flowers, ferns and grasses. Plant native! It’s good for you and great for the environment! This sale is sponsored by Traverse City Light and Power and all of the proceeds support the work of the Grand Traverse Conservation District. Location: Boardman River Nature Center, 1450 Cass Road in Traverse City. www.natureiscalling.org

9:00 a.m. – Grand Traverse Audubon Club
Nate Crane will lead a morning bird walk at Grand Traverse Regional Conservancy Preserve, Pyatt Lake. Location: Neahtawanta Road, Traverse City, MI (take Peninsula Drive north approx. 10 miles, just past Bowers Harbor Marina turn left on Neahtawanta Road, travel 1/2 mile to Pyatt Road, turn right. Parking area is 1/4 mile down Pyatt Road). www.gtrlc.org/preserves/preservemap.php#pyatt

10:00 a.m. – Boardman River Nature Center
Tom Ford will lead a morning “Birds and Wildflowers” workshop. Location: Boardman River Nature Center, 1450 Cass Road in Traverse City. www.natureiscalling.org

10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. – Enerdyne in Suttons Bay
Enerdyne will be offering special sales on scopes, binoculars, and birding optics throughout the business day. www.enerdynet.com

12 noon – 4:00 p.m. – Saving Birds Thru Habitat
Learn how you can help bird species whose numbers are in decline. At 1:00 p.m., Kay Charter, SBTH founder and Charter Sanctuary co-owner, will lead a hike through the remarkable place which she and her husband have owned and managed since early 1993. This hike will focus on the many species nesting on the sanctuary, including rarities like Mourning Warbler, as well as more common Neotropical species such as Baltimore Oriole, Common Yellowthroat, Warbling Vireo, and many others. Please call 231-271-3738 to pre-register. Location: 5020 North Putnam Road, Northport, MI. www.savingbirds.org

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Four Season Nursery & Wild Birds Unlimited
will be hosting “Native Plantings for Backyard Birders” workshop. Location: 7557 Harry’s Road, Traverse City, MI.
www.fourseasonnursery.biz, www.wbu.com

1:00 p.m. & 4:00 p.m. – Wings of Wonder
is offering two exclusive, behind the scenes tours and opportunities to get nose to beak with the raptors at the Wings of Wonder Raptor Rehabilitation Center . Each session will include a full tour or the hospital and bird enclosures; an opportunity to interact with the raptors and watch them soar; photos with Doolin, the Wings of Wonder Turkey Vulture mascot; a live demonstration with master bird bander, Leonard Graff; a reception with Rebecca Lessard including drinks and hors d’oeuvres; and additional unique experiences and surprises! Both sessions are limited to 20 people and will be held rain or shine. Advance registration and $50.00 donation are required to secure your space. No children under 10 years old. RSVP to 231-326-4663. Location: 13035 S Greenway, Empire, MI. www.wingsofwonder.org

Sunday, May 23

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Grand Traverse Conservation District Annual Native Plant Sale
Restore nature and the beauty of your backyard! Choose from over 30 species of native flowers, ferns and grasses. Plant native! It’s good for you and great for the environment! This sale is sponsored by Traverse City Light and Power and all of the proceeds support the work of the Grand Traverse Conservation District. Location: Boardman River Nature Center, 1450 Cass Road in Traverse City.  www.natureiscalling.org

The Festival of Birds is made possible by the generous participation and support of the following partners: Wings Of Wonder, Saving Birds Thru Habitat, Benzie Audubon, Boardman River Nature Center, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Grand Traverse Audubon Club, Little Artshram, SEEDS, Wild Birds Unlimited, Tom Ford, Nate Crane, Glenn Wolf, Susan Fawcett, Artisan Gallery, and The Dove Song.

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