Horicon Marsh Again Site of Annual Bird Festival, May 9-12

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Birders will gather at the DNR Horicon Marsh Service Center

HORICON, Wis. – Birding enthusiasts will gather May 9 through 12 at the Department of Natural Resources Horicon Marsh Field Office for the annual Horicon Marsh Bird Festival.

This Horicon Marsh gathering is eagerly anticipated by veteran and beginning birders who flock to the marsh at the peak of the migration each spring. The marsh itself is located in a prime flyway for birds of all types providing great opportunities for viewing a wide variety of birds as they stop to rest and refuel on their flights north.

During the festival people will enjoy events throughout the days and evenings. Activities will include bird watching field trips, and hikers will get to see birds in prime locations in the marsh that are not normally seen by visitors. Activities begin at 6 a.m. daily.

There will be bird banding demonstrations, plus presentations on “Birdscaping” or landscaping for birds, wild birds of prey, warbler identification, waterfowl identification and other topics that will appeal to birders of all ages and at every level of interest in this hobby. May is the peak time for the migration of songbirds and shorebirds, and enthusiasts are almost guaranteed many sightings of their favorite birds and the sighting of new birds in their natural habitat.

In addition to various presentations and demonstrations, participants may make reservations – necessary for some activities — for tours by both boat and bus.

The Horicon Marsh Bird Festival began in 1994. This is its 11th year.

According Bill Volkert, DNR naturalist and educator at Horicon, more than 290 species of birds have been documented at Horicon Marsh, making this one of the top birding hotspots in the upper Midwest. Visitors have the opportunity to find many threatened and endangered species that rely on this marsh during the year to maintain their populations.

The Horicon Marsh has been recognized as a “Wetland of International Importance” and a “Globally Important Bird Area,” which provides abundant opportunities for the study and management of Wisconsin birds.

The festival is a project of the Horicon Marsh Bird Club and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. It has grown each year and attendance last year was around 2,000 people who came from across the country. However, due to the numerous activities and vastness of the marsh, participants don’t feel crowded. The Horicon Marsh Bird Festival is billed as the oldest Birding Festival in Wisconsin.

Birders will find the festival at the DNR’s Field Office in the City of Horicon, located on North Palmatory Street. Event signs will direct visitors from Highways 28 and 33. People who wish additional information should call 920-387-7860.

Information detailing the activities of the festival can be found on the website of the Horicon Marsh Bird Club at [www.horiconmarshbirdfestival.com] (exit DNR).

The Horicon Marsh is more than 32,000 acres and is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States. The northern two thirds of the marsh is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service as the 21,000 acre Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. The southern one third of the marsh is managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area. Both the federal and state portions of the marsh will be participating in this event.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Volkert, DNR Natural Resources Educator, 920-387-7877