ARCATA – Online registration is now open at godwitdays.org for the 24th Annual Godwit Days Spring Migration Bird Festival, to be held April 19 to 21 at the Arcata Community Center. Pre- and post-festival events extend the core dates from April 17 to 23.
Godwit Days is excited to again offer two featured speakers. On Friday night, April 19 following the free opening reception, Noah Strycker, an associate editor of Birding magazine and author of four bird books, who set a world Big Year record in 2015, will speak on “Birds of the Photo Ark.” Other sessions where you can interact with Strycker are an all-day trip on Thursday, April 18 to Del Norte County, a six-hour birding trip on Saturday, April 20 with a catered lunch, and a one-hour workshop on Sunday.
The Saturday night, April 20 keynote speaker is Peter Marra, director of the Migratory Bird Center at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and author of Cat Wars. He will enlighten attendees about how outdoor cats have contributed to declines in wild bird populations. Other sessions where you can interact with Marra are a half-day trip to the Blue Lake cottonwoods/Mad River Fish Hatchery on Saturday, April 20 a 6-hour birding trip on Sunday, April 21 with a catered lunch, and a one-hour workshop on Sunday, April 21. All Basic Festival registrations include a keynote ticket, while the cost is just $10 for non-registrants.
This year’s program will be as diverse as ever, incorporating many aspects of the animals and habitats that make up our beautiful North Coast. The line-up consists of nearly 100 field trips, workshops, lectures, kayak trips, a banquet, silent auction, and events like the “Big Day,” where participants travel by van around Humboldt County to spot around 135 bird species. There are 10 new trips this year, including Avocets & Ales, Kneeland & Coastal Prairies, Bald Hills & Lyon’s Ranch Trail, Snow Camp Road and Bald Mountain, and Mammal Tracking.
For the sixth year, certain trips are designated as “Gold,” meaning that they include lunch and involve extremely small groups. Many popular annual field trips are offered again, including Spotted Owl trips (divided according to the difficulty of the hike in to see the birds) and Shorebird Spectacle at the Marsh.
The program is not limited to birds, with sessions focusing on dragonflies, reptiles and amphibians, conifers and other native plants, and dune ecology.
Leaders are trained professionals, local biologists, and experts in birds and other wildlife habits and identification. Our enthusiastic leaders, termed “Field Guides,” lead small groups averaging between 12 and 20 on trips through the redwoods, along the coast or rivers, next to mudflats, to our world-renowned Arcata Marsh, and much more.
Free events for everyone include an opening reception/Friday night lecture on April 19 , presentation of the sixth annual Humboldt County Bird of the Year award, Bird Fair vendor booths, an art show, family nature crafts sponsored by Friends of the Arcata Marsh (FOAM), and some field trips (price noted as $0.00 on event list, but require sign-up to reserve a spot). All entries in the 16th Annual Student Bird Art Contest by Humboldt County students in grades K-12, which is co-sponsored by FOAM and Redwood Region Audubon Society (RRAS), will be on display, with awards for it and the RRAS Children’s Nature Writing Contest presented on Saturday, April 20 at 10:30 a.m.
The 2019 festival artwork, to be featured on T-shirts and posters, was designed by David Price of Laughing Frog Photography. David was born in New Zealand and worked for 25 years – mostly in Southeast Asia– for a development NGO doing language development, literacy,and sustainable development in remote villages. He now lives in Humboldt County and serves on the Godwit Days Board of Directors.
Visit godwitdays.org to review the event schedule and online registration, before trips fill up.
Registration also can be done by phone at (707) 826-7050 or 1 (800) 908-WING (9464).