Bird Fest is here!!!

For each of your Bird Fest field trips, classes, or workshops, remember to bring:

  1. Clothing and footwear that is appropriate for the day's specific weather (and check your trip-specific information for any particular notes)

  2. Any personal medications (inhaler, epipen, etc.)

  3. Water (enough for the duration of your trip) and lunch/snacks

  4. Sun protection

  5. Your binoculars/birding equipment

  6. Anything trip-specific that is listed in the trip description and information

We recommend arriving at Bird Fest Central -- or your alternative meeting location -- 15 minutes before the trip is scheduled to depart. 

Bird Fest Central is located at Wenatchee River Institute, 347 Division Street, Leavenworth, WA. Parking in our small lot is limited -- please give priority parking in the lot to those who need to be closer. Parking for trips is best on Commercial and 12th streets.

All participants need to fill out a waiver before participating in Bird Fest trips. The waiver is attached to this email if you'd like to fill it out ahead of time and bring it to Bird Fest with you. There will also be copies at Bird Fest Central or with your trip leader for trips departing from a different location.

There are some trips that still have open spots! If you're interested in signing up, check the online registration, stop by Bird Fest Central, or email Keep an eye on the Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest Facebook page too; sometimes last minute openings will be posted there. There are also free events throughout the weekend.

 Bird Fest would not be possible without sponsors, and our sponsors are highlighted in this program. If you are looking for places to visit while in Leavenworth, check out our sponsors!

See you soon!

A Highlight of our FREE events!

Throughout the weekend there are events that do not require registration and are free of cost! So, if you find yourself with some extra time Birdfest weekend, missed registration for already full events, or want to save your bills these events are for you.

bird fest art.jpg

Bird Fest Art Exhibition Reception Thursday, May 16th 5:00pm-7:00pm

Pacific Northwest Birds and Their Habitats” This juried exhibition serves as an opportunity for a diverse range of artists in North Central Washington to display their work in Snowy Owl Theater. Light hors d'oeuvres served and drinks available for purchase. 

Magnificent Migrations Friday, May 17th 1:00pm-2:30pm Saturday, May 18th 1:00pm-3:00pm

Join hatchery staff in an exploration of a variety of migratory species that play an important role in our area. Delve into the different roles that migration plays in the lives of fish, insects, and birds, and keep an eye out for these migrators as we walk around the hatchery. This ADA-accessible program is located at Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery and is great for beginner and casual birders who are interested in all kinds of migratory animals.


Molly Hashimoto Book Signing Friday, May 17th 3:00pm-4:00pm

Come meet amazing artist and author Molly Hashimoto, against the backdrop of stunning Watershed Art, as she shares her new book Birds of the West: An Artist’s Guide!

Sleeping Lady Bird Walk Saturday, May 18th 8:00am-10:00am

Bird walks at Sleeping Lady are an excellent opportunity to observe an abundance of species. We will tour Sleeping Lady’s diverse habitats; the organic garden, the aspen stands, ponderosa pine forests and the clean waters of Icicle Creek.

sleeping lady.jpg

Blackbird Island Family Bird Walk Saturday, May 18th 8:00am-10:00am

Enjoy a family-oriented guided bird walk on Leavenworth’s Blackbird Island. Enjoy the sounds of birds calling, fish jumping and plenty of informative signs telling the history of the area with this leisurely paced 2 mile loop walk. Begins from Bird Fest Central.

Audubon Photo Exhibit Saturday, May 18th 10:00am-4:00pm Sunday, May 19th 10:00am-2:00pm

Winning photos published in the summer 2018 issue of Audubon Magazine will be displayed at Bird Fest central. Enjoy the beautiful photographs anytime during the open hours!


Keynote Speaker: Richard Crossley

Richard Crossley is a talented birder, photographer, award winning author of ‘The Crossley ID Guide’ series, and this year’s Bird Fest keynote speaker. After one of his frequent mid-life crises at the turn of the millennium, Richard decided it was time to spend less time obsessively birding and to focus on paying back. Sometimes called crazy (his badge of honor), wildly passionate, and driven, Richard has made concerted forays into youth birding, television, books, and other areas where he feels there is a need for American birding and conservation to improve.

He served on the board of directors at the famous Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. He firmly believes that the time is right to popularize birding in the USA and other parts of the world. When recently asked why he takes on so many projects, his answer, “it beats working” sums up his passion for everything outdoors.

The Crossley ID Guide series includes; waterfowl, eastern birds, and raptors. Richard’s guides will be for sale at this event along with book-signing. Keynote event is on Friday, May 17th, 7pm at the Snowy Owl Theater; $22 members, $25 non- members.

Happy Birding!

Bird Fest Arts

We’re happy to share the artistic side of all Bird Fest events! This year’s art presentations include photography, music, poetry, drawing, and painting. Located right at Bird Fest Central, the Audubon Photo Exhibit will be open Saturday 10:00 am–4:00 pm and Sunday 10:00 am–2:00 pm. Check-in for your birding trips early and reserve time to appreciate the winning photographs published in the Summer 2018 issue of Audubon Magazine. Free admission.

An additional visual celebration of the beauty of birds is the Annual Bird Fest Art Exhibition “Pacific Northwest Birds and Their Habitats”. This exhibits the talents of local area artists and will be open May 1–May 31 at Snowy Owl Theater. Stop by the Bird Fest Exhibition Reception on Thursday May 16th from 5pm-7pm.

Shortly after the Bird Fest Exhibition Reception is the Song Bird Concert from 7:00pm-8:30pm. Fill your evening with music from the Marlin Handbell Ringers, and the poetry and prose of Heather Durham, Cynthia Neely, and Derek Sheffield.

With all the artistic inspiration being displayed Bird Fest weekend you’ll be able to exercise your inner artist with classes such as; The Art of Nature Journaling at Sleeping Lady with Heather Murphy, Birds of the West: An Artist’s Guide with Molly Hashimoto (free book signing to follow), Flirting with Air: Writing Poems about Birds, and Sip & Paint, all with limited spots available. Details for these events can be found in the Bird Fest Program and registration at

Song Bird Concert Poets

Thursday May 16th is the first day of Bird Fest which includes the artistic Bird Fest Song Bird Concert from 7:00pm-8:30pm at the Snowy Owl Theater. This is one of many no registration required events to be attended by donation. The concert will feature the poems of Heather Durham, Cynthia Neely, and Derek Sheffield.

Heather Durham is the author of the nature memoir-in-essays, Going Feral: Field Notes on Wonder and Wanderlust, explorations of a restless human animal seeking authenticity and belonging in the more-than-human world. Heather holds a master of science in environmental biology and a master of fine arts in creative nonfiction, and currently works behind the scenes at Wilderness Awareness School in the westside foothills. When not working or writing, she is likely to be found outside with a journal, a field guide, and binoculars, hunting birdsong. Learn more at

Cynthia Neely is the winner of Bright Hill Presss chapbook contest for “Passing Through Blue Earth” (2016) and the winner of Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment’s chapbook contest for “Broken Water” (2011). Her poems appear in numerous journals including Pontoon (2016 Paula Jones Gardiner Memorial Award-Floating Bridge Press), Bellevue Literary Review (runner up for the Jan and Marica Vilcek prize, judged by Marie Ponsot), Crab Creek Review, Raven Chronicles, and in several anthologies. Her full-length book, “Flight Path”, (2014) was a finalist in the Aldrich Press book contest. Her chapbook “Hopewell Bay” (2017), a single long hybrid poem, is available from Seven Kitchens Press. Her essay and creative non-fiction work appear in The Writers’ Chronicle, Cutthroat Journal (runner up for the Barry Lopez Prize) and Neely earned her MFA in creative writing from Pacific University.

Derek Sheffield’s book of poems, Through the Second Skin, was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. An English Professor at Wenatchee Valley College, he teaches Northwest Nature Writing in partnership with noted ornithologist, Dr. Dan Stephens.  He lives with his family near Leavenworth, WA, and is the poetry editor of

Their books will be available for purchase before and after the concert.

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone that registered for a Bird Fest birding trip or social event! Before we know it, the flowers will be in bloom and the bees will start to buzz!

Now that you’re registered it’s time to reserve your travel accommodations. Visit our ‘Plan Your Visit’ page for recommendations and our ‘Sponsors’ page for a list of businesses that help make Bird Fest happen. This year our Bluebird Nest sponsors will be offering lodging discounts for Bird Fest participants! If you can’t find what you’re looking the Leavenworth website has it all!

If you’re a first-time participant take a look at our past OFFICIAL BIRDING LISTS! Become familiar with the birds you’ll meet here in Leavenworth and our multiple Bird Fest locations.

Waiting lists are available for trips. If there is a trip you want to register for but can’t find a waitlist email to inquire about a waitlist.

Happy Birding!