The sixth Annual Rivers & Bluffs Fall Birding Festival opens this evening along the Mississippi River in Lansing.
Organizer Ric Zarwell says colder temperatures should help bring in more birds. Zarwell says they usually have 15 to 20,000 tundra swans, but don’t have that many yet. He says the cold weather should bring more swans in, but they do have 300 to 400,000 ducks and geese.
Zarwell says they usually get visitors from several states. He says they’ve average a little over 250 people each year, and try to improve every year to draw in more people. Zarwell says the festival features events that you won’t see anywhere else.
Zarwell says the festivals are geared toward the novice, so you don’t have to be an expert to appreciate seeing them. He says the subtitle of the festival is "identifying, enjoying and understanding all birds around us," so it is an educational family type of event. Events begin Friday evening at five o’clock.
Zarwell says they have a program on the recovery and reintroduction of peregrine falcons in the upper midwest. He says there will also be vendors and arts and crafts. Saturday morning they start with a pancake breakfast. Saturday there are a couple of presentations.
There’s one on swans with a professor from the University of Minnesota, and there’s a session identifying Mississippi waterfowl. Zarwell says they also have a silent auction going on and field trips. The field trips visit Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa and feature waterfowl experts. To see the complete festival itinerary, visit: www.LansingIowa.com .