Tualatin River Bird Festival – Best USA Festivals
Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge,
19255 SW Pacific Highway Third weekend in May www.friendsoftualatinrefuge.org
Tualatin River Bird Festival – Best USA Festivals Photo Gallery
Located on the outskirts of Portland just ten minutes west of busy Interstate 5 and 2.5 miles north of Sherwood, 1,856-acre Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is one of about a hundred urban national wildlife refuges in the country. Situated within the floodplain of the Tualatin River, the refuge preserves a rich diversity of habitat types—verdant riparian corridors, mixed woodlands, expansive seasonal wetlands, savannah-like grasslands, and more. The refuge attracts a wide variety of migratory and wintering water birds, as well as myriad nesting bird species, with a total count of some 200 species, not to mention more than 50 species of mammals and 25 species of reptiles and amphibians. Anchored by a large visitor center with interpretive displays, photo displays, overlooks, a huge viewing window with spotting scopes, a nature store, and more, the refuge features a network of trails with options for visitors of all abilities, along with a host of educational activities and special events. One of the biggest events at the refuge is the annual one-day Tualatin River Bird Festival held each May, which offers a host of fun educational activities for all American widgeon are among the many birds ages. The festival is organized that use Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge. and hosted by the Friends of
Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the mission of the refuge, in conjunction with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Guided birding tours begin first thing in the morning at 5:30 am and thereafter, providing visitors a chance to learn to identify a variety of species by sight and sound. Tours are led by US Fish and Wildlife Service staff who work on the refuge as well as various guest birding experts.
The main festival begins at 10 am and includes a host of activities that kids can really sink their teeth into: building birdhouses (or bat or butterfly houses) to take home, archery and fishing lessons, decoy painting, gyotaku (Japanese fish painting), BB gun range, fish-migration putt-putt golf, and more. A festival favorite are the live birds of prey from Audubon Education Birds, presented by expert handlers and wildlife rehab specialists. Throughout the day, a variety of exhibitors provide educational offerings, with many local and regional conservation and resource-management groups and agencies represented. All the events and activities—including the guided bird walks— are free. Just show up and enjoy a wonderful day on one of Western Oregon’s great national wildlife refuges. Activities vary from year to year and a listing of these can be found on the Friends website by April of each year.
Parking for the festival is offsite (see event website for locations). From the parking area, shuttle buses run continuously to the refuge between the hours of 5 am to 5 pm. TriMet (route 93) also stops at the refuge headquarters.