Owens Lake Bird Festival gears up for second event

Press release

Lone Pine, CA – The 2nd Owens Lake Bird Festival offers tremendous opportunities to celebrate migrating shorebirds and highlight the significance of the Owens Lake story and the return of a threatened habitat.

From the ES Audubon Society website - Red-necked Phalaropes at Owens Lake Photo by Michael Prather

From the ES Audubon Society website – Red-necked Phalaropes at Owens Lake
Photo by Michael Prather

Owens Lake, designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by the National Audubon Society, offers world-class wildlife viewing in the southern Owens Valley. The Owens River traditionally filled Owens Lake each year and supported hundreds of thousands of shorebirds during their annual migration between the northern and southern hemispheres.

For decades, the city of Los Angeles diverted water for its growing population, leaving the lakebed dry and drastically impacting bird migration. Today, however, through dust mitigation and collaborative restoration efforts, water and habitat have been returned to the lake, attracting birds once more.

This spring, Friends of the Inyo invites all birders and lovers of wildlife and beautiful landscapes to celebrate the spring migration during the 2nd Annual Owens Lake Bird Festival, April 22-24.

Following a tremendously successful first year, Friends of the Inyo is offering an expanded festival that promises more opportunities to experience a special place during the height of the awe inspiring migration between hemispheres.

Collaboration has played a key role in restoration efforts, and this year the bird festival is proudly partnering with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Inyo County, Audubon California, Eastern Sierra Audubon, and Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association.

The festival begins Friday evening with a reception at the Museum of Western Film History. On Saturday, a wide variety of field trips will be led by expert guides who intimately understand the area and are excited to share the migration and all of the ways that it influences and is influenced by Owens Lake.

The informative outings cater to beginner through expert birders, will explore on and off Owens Lake, and include natural and cultural history tours. A Saturday evening gathering at Statham Hall includes dinner with a keynote presentation by Debbie House titled “Owens Lake- Its New Role in the Flyway.”

More outings around the lake will occur Sunday morning followed by a casual picnic in the park in Lone Pine. “Our first Owens Lake Bird Festival was so successful that we are enlarging it with an extra day and new tours to Owens Lake and the surrounding area,” says organizer and longtime local expert Mike Prather. “Each spring and fall, tens of thousands birds move between hemispheres and pass through Owens Lake, the largest wildlife location in Inyo County.”

“We were thrilled with the interest and enthusiasm for Owens Lake generated through last year’s festival,” says Friends of the Inyo’s Executive Director Laura Beardsley. “We’re excited to offer a robust weekend full of opportunities to explore the lake and the Lower Owens Valley again this year.”

Event Details: Friday, April 22 through Sunday, April 24, 2016. Tickets – $60; Students – $30; Children under 12 – free with an adult. Registration includes Friday evening reception, continental breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, and inspiring, in-depth tours with expert guides on Saturday and Sunday. Pre-order lunches – $12; Saturday evening dinner reception – $25. Pre-registration for Friends of the Inyo members has started.

Registration for the public begins February 15. For more information or to register, visit: www.friendsoftheinyo.org/foiD7/owenslakefestival or call (760) 873-6500.

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Founded in 1986, Friends of the Inyo is a Bishop, CA-based non-profit organization that works to care for and protect public lands in the Eastern Sierra while inspiring others to do the same. Friends of the Inyo connects thousands of people to their public lands each year through hikes, tours, volunteer opportunities, habitat restoration, trail maintenance, civic engagement, and educational programs. www.friendsoftheinyo.org.




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