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Mountain State Birding Festival: Blackwater Falls

June 2 June 4

This is the ultimate birding weekend for advanced and beginning bird watchers. The weekend is designed to see and listen to birds in scenic mountain habitats with well-known naturalist/guide Bill Beatty [Bill Beatty Nature] and Janice Runyan of Wellsburg WV as well as indoor presentation with Beatty and Runyan and a live educational birds program on Sunday afternoon. Mountain State Birding Festival is June 2-4, 2023 with Blackwater Falls State Park as the home base.

Field trips are limited and fee based at $40 per person and includes both field trips conducted during the weekend. Advance registration for the field trips is necessary. Please call Paulita Cousin at 304-259-5216 for field trip reservations. All other activities are free and open to the public and are held at or begin from Blackwater Falls Lodge.

Blackwater Falls State Park is one of West Virginia’s best birdwatching regions. The park’s location near Canaan Valley Resort State Park, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, and Otter Creek Wilderness Area are also well known and as a collection of areas, a dynamic birding mecca.
Accommodations of lodge room cabins or camping are available at Blackwater Falls State and reservable online.

The weekend includes activities include:

FRIDAY, June 2, 2023
4:00 p.m. – Free to attend. Open to the public.

Learning Bird Songs
Identifying birds by song can be a challenge. However, there are helpful and fun ways to make the process easier. We will explore approaches to know birds by their songs and to help make the music of the birds a wonderful and peaceful part of our lives.

Friday evening
7:00 p.m. – Free to attend. Open to the public.

Birding Essentials for Everyone
Birding is one of those special activities that can be
enjoyed by anyone at any skill level. Whether you are an experienced birder or a beginner, this entertaining class will help you expand and improve your birding abilities. We will explore appearance, behavior, location, sound, equipment and other topics. These insights and techniques will help anyone expand their birding skills and enjoyment.

SATURDAY, June 3, 2023
Saturday Morning 6:00 a.m.
FIELD TRIP – Birdwatching
Preregistration is necessary

Stuart Memorial Drive, including Bear Heaven and Bickle Knob – Driving time to Stuart Memorial Drive is about 45 minutes each way. A wonderful birding area, the 10-mile drive traverses mixed hardwood and Red Spruce forests as well as high meadows at elevations ranging from 2,500 – 4,000 feet. Typically, 15-18 species of warbler are seen/heard which includes the possibility of Golden-winged Warbler and Mourning Warbler. Species which we should also see/hear at the highest elevations include Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Other species include Least Flycatcher, Blue-headed Vireo, Red-breasted Nuthatch and Purple Finch. We will lunch near the observation deck at Bickle Knob which offers a stunning 360 degree panorama of the West Virginia mountains.

Saturday evening
7:00 p.m. – Free to attend. Open to the public.

Flycatchers of West Virginia
There are 10 species of flycatchers that can be found in West Virginia. Two are easy to identify. Two others are not quite as easily identifiable. The rest can be downright difficult unless you know the songs they sing. This evening program is a visual and auditory program that will help unravel the difficulties of flycatcher identification.

SUNDAY, June 4, 2023
6:30 a.m.
FIELD TRIP Freeland Boardwalk
Preregistration is necessary

The Freeland Boardwalk area is arguably the best birding spot in all of the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Besides finding Bobolinks and Savannah Sparrows near the parking area, the boardwalk itself is a reliable place for Willow and Alder flycatchers, Swamp Sparrows and always a few surprises. We will explore this wonderfully birdy part of the refuge.

1:00 PM
Flying Higher LLC
Birds of Prey – Free to attend. Open to the public.
Presented by Flying Higher, Jo Santiago is a wildlife biologist and creator of Flying Higher. She is dedicated to the conservation of birds of prey and their habitats. The experience of actually living with non-releasable permanently injured birds of prey 24/7 has provided Jo with unique insight into their world. Their individual personalities, behaviors, needs, idiosyncrasies, and body language are remarkably like our own. They have much to teach us. In learning about them, we learn much about ourselves. Live

Mountain State Birding Festival is an opportunity to take field trips with Bill Beatty and Janice Runyan at one of West Virginia’s best birding areas. For greater detail, email Paulita Cousin at paulita.l.cousin@wv.gov


June 2
June 4
Event Tags:

Blackwater Falls State Park

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