Bird watchers and nature enthusiasts are invited to learn about the many birds of West Tennessee during the ninth annual Hatchie BirdFest Friday, April 22 - Sunday, April 24, in
Bird watchers and nature enthusiasts are invited to learn about the many birds of West Tennessee during the ninth annual Hatchie BirdFest Friday, April 22 – Sunday, April 24, in Brownsville. The three-day event will offer a variety of activities for all ages and skill levels, including nature hikes and educational seminars.
The festival kicks off with a canoe trip on Oneal Lake, Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge (HNWR). Ranger Tara Dowdy will lead youth and adults in a float trip around the lake to identify birds and learn more about West Tennessee’s refuge system. You may choose from two times for this activity Friday morning, 9 or 11 a.m. Participants must register in advance by calling 731-779-9000.
Friday evening features an opening reception and presentation at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center. Guests will enjoy refreshments and music by the Dirt Pilgrims, a Jackson TN-based folk band.
The keynote speaker for Friday evening is Dawn Hewitt, an avid birder and former editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest. Hewitt will discuss “Birds: Now and Then.” Some of the most common birds we see today are relative newcomers and many species once common in the Eastern U. S. are now challenging to find or gone completely. Hewitt will intersperse her presentation with excerpts from some of her favorite stories published in Bird Watcher’s Digest. A question and answer session will follow. Limited seating is available and those wishing to attend in person should call the Center to reserve a seat. The presentation will also be live streamed on Facebook for those wishing to attend virtually.
Early risers are invited to spend Saturday morning afield with experienced bird guides learning about the more than 200 species of birds that make their home on or are migrating through the HNWR. If wildlife photography is more your thing, bring your camera and join the hands-on photography walk and workshop.
The popular Birds of Prey program takes place at noon Saturday and features live bird demonstrations. This highlight of the festival utilizes injured birds through the rehab and environmental education program at Reelfoot Lake State Park.
Saturday evening includes a nocturnal walk around Oneal Lake to learn about “Creatures of the Night” with HNWR Manager Brian Roberts.
Sunday morning hikes are informal and led by wildlife biologist and Partners in Flight Coordinator Bob Ford. This nature walk includes some of Bob’s favorite birding spots located throughout the county.
Sunday afternoon seminars take place at Willow Oaks Flower Farm, Highway 54 North, where owners David and Sarah Levy will showcase their greenhouses and give a tour of pollinator plants. Martha Lyle Ford, Director for the Center for Faith and Imagination at Memphis Theological Seminary, will help you make the connection between faith, scripture, and Creation care with a special look at birds in scripture.
Members of the Tennessee Ornithological Society, Tennessee Wildlife Federation, Tennessee State Parks and others will be on hand to answer questions and share information throughout the event. All hikes and activities are free.
For a complete schedule and to pre-register, visit www.hatchiebirdfest.com or call the Delta Heritage Center at 731-779-9000. Virtual programming will also be offered throughout the weekend on the Hatchie BirdFest Facebook page (Facebook.com/HatchieBirdfest).
April 22 (Friday) - 24 (Sunday)