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 7:30pm-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 7:30pm-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!