Friends of the Inyo’s Owens Lake Bird Festival Returns to its
Pre-COVID Three-Day Format April 21-23, EarthDay Weekend, in Lone Pine
Lone Pine – Since 2015, Friends of the Inyo’s Owens Lake Bird Festival (OLBF) has been celebrating the migration of thousands of birds as they alight at Owens Lake to replenish their strength before continuing on their hemispheric journey along the Pacific Flyway, which extends from Alaska to Patagonia.
During COVID, the OLBF migrated to Zoom, then flew back to being a live event in 2022, albeit scaled down to one day. This April, the festival returns to its pre-COVID format.
“We are excited to be able to offer more outings this year—14 altogether, twice as many as last year—and expand the festival back to a three-day event, from April 21st through 23rd,” said Kayla Browne, FOI’s Policy Associate & Desert Lands Campaign Manager, who is based in Lone Pine, where the OLBF takes place, as tours begin from the parking lot of the Museum of Western Film History on Main Street.
Although many people flock to the OLBF for the birds, the tours are more than just about birding, and designed to cover topics that also include botany, photography, geology, local history and culture, and more. The intent is to complement the birding experience, as well as to inform the public about Friends of the Inyo’s work to protect and care for the public lands of the Eastern Sierra, with a focus on the organization’s work in Southern Inyo County.
Close to 100 people (hailing from throughout the Eastern Sierra, and from as far away as the San Francisco Bay Area, San Luis Obispo, even Tucson, Arizona) have already signed up to attend, selling out a number of tours, but spaces are still available on some half-day and full-day tours that include a film history of Owens Lake, non-technical bird photography on the lake, birding with the National Audubon Society, a historic mining tour of Cerro Gordo, and a visit to Conglomerate Mesa, a stunning desert refuge for flourishing groves of Joshua trees.
“This year the Southern Inyo area has seen so much snow and rain that we expect beautiful wildflowers, lush greenery, and some very happy birds,” Browne said.
Tickets for the Owens Lake Bird Festival must be purchased online at friendsoftheinyo.org/events or friendsoftheinyo.org/birdfestival. The price for tickets for half-day tours on Saturday morning and afternoon April 22, and Sunday morning April 23, is $22.50 each; tickets for full-day tours on April 22 range from $45 to $55 apiece. All trips will be led by knowledgeable birders, naturalists, and photographers, including FOI staff and board members, and partners in conservation who have been affiliated with the Bird Festival since its inception.
In addition to the tours, Friends of the Inyo will also host a FREE happy hour and check-in reception on Friday, April 21st, at FOI’s Lone Pine Office, 142 E. Bush Street, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Members of the community and the media are welcome.
On Saturday evening, April 22nd, starting at 6 p.m. at the Lone Pine Museum of Western Film History, 701 S. Main Street, there will be a program featuring local speakers, two short film screenings, a silent auction, and a dinner catered by Coachwhip Café, which prides itself in serving seasonal cuisine with a twist of fusion, made fresh from scratch, and is coming all the way from Coleville for the occasion. Meal tickets are $16 for either a vegetarian or chicken option, and are sold separately at the same online portal where tour tickets are sold. Anyone is welcome to purchase a Saturday dinner ticket even if they cannot join any of the birding tours, so they can still enjoy a good meal and good company with like-minded “birds of a feather.”
Generously sponsoring the festival this year are Metabolic Studio, the County of Inyo, and AltaOne Federal Credit Union, with branches in Bishop and Lone Pine.
For questions, please write to [email protected].