Flyway Festival Celebrates Return of Millions of Migrating Birds

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15th Annual Flyway Festival Returns to Vallejo's Mare Island this Weekend

Both birds and people will be flocking to Mare Island in Vallejo to celebrate what has become an annual ritural each winter on the "north shore" of San Francisco Bay. The San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival is a unique, three-day bird-watching and wildlife viewing event that draws an estimated 5,000 people each year to celebrate the return of over one million shorebirds and hundreds of thousands of ducks, geese, hawks and even monarch butterflies, which migrate through or winter in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Flyway Festival will be held Friday, February 11 through Sunday, February 13 in Building 223, 500 Connolly Street on Mare Island. Admission is free. Festival-goers will choose from dozens of fun activities, including a Family Wildlife Exploration and Birding Expo with nearly 100 exhibitors, learning sessions, birding demonstrations and live wild bird visits, an art and photography exhibit and food.

Scott Artis, Founding Director of the Burrowing Owl Conservation Network will give a talk Friday evening, repeated Saturday, entitled, "Those Whimsical Underground Owls: Saving the Western Burrowing Owl." He will discuss efforts to conserve this California Species of Special Concern and restore populations of North America's only raptor to live and nest underground.

Take one of the more than 20 guided outings on Mare Island, along with a self-guided wetland walk to the edge of San Pablo Bay on a newly opened 2-mile trail. Vaca Valley Volks will again host an American Volkswalk Association-sanctioned 5k and 10k walk routed along wetland trails and through the historic and new neighborhoods of the former U.S. Navy shipyard founded in 1854.

Mare Island outings include guided tours of the Navy's oldest cemetery and ammunition depot in the Pacific, both founded over 150 years ago. Both of these sites are located in the Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve, from which vistas of seven counties are visible from a hilltop vantage point. St. Peter's Chapel, with the most Louis Comfort Tiffany-designed stained-glass windows under one roof in the western United States, will be open for tours.

Dozens of guided outings primarily on the "north shore" of San Francisco Bay in Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Solano Counties, along with tours within the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in the South Bay are free, although some require pre-registration.

For information, visit http://www.sfbayflywayfestival.com or call 707-249-9633

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Mike Browne

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