Palm Coast - Registration is now open for the City of Palm Coast's fourth annual Birds of a Feather Fest, set for Feb. 9-11 - offering a weekend of birding, photography, workshops, family activities and a special community presentation for everyone who loves nature and wildlife. A full schedule is at www.birdingfest.com.

Birds of a Feather Fest 2018 is proud to welcome renowned wildlife photographer Moose Peterson, who will give a free community presentation - "An Evening with Moose Peterson" - on Saturday evening, Feb. 10, at the Flagler Auditorium. Peterson will also lead a Sunrise Photography Field Trip to Orlando Wetlands Park during the festival.

The Birds of a Feather Fest is based at Palm Coast City Hall, 160 Lake Ave., Palm Coast. Many activities are free, while some have a fee. There is no registration fee. The three-day birding and nature festival is geared toward serious birders, as well as beginners and families. A good number of the birding trips offered will be on paved trails in and around Palm Coast, making birding accessible to children and people with disabilities.

A complete schedule for the Birds of a Feather Fest is at www.birdingfest.com, and registration is now open.Twenty-three birding trips and classes are being offered. Participants can choose as much or as little as they'd like over the three days.

New this year is PeaCee's Big Backyard behind Palm Coast City Hall on Saturday, Feb. 10. This backyard-sized interactive exhibit will allow festival-goers of all ages explore how to attract birds and butterflies to their own backyards. The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey will set up in PeaCee's Big Backyard and give two shows, and there will be a full array of nature-related children's activities all for free. Four free beginner bird walks will start from City Hall at 8 and 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. that day.

Other new features for 2018 are a big trip to Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive; a bird walk at Pelicer Creek Conservation Area; classes on iPhoneography, Pokemon Go (for birding) and Building a Bird-Friendly Backyard; and a behind-the-scenes reception with Moose Peterson before his Saturday night community presentation. The popular Introduction to Birding, eBirding and Bird Identification workshops will also be offered.

"We are so excited to have legendary wildlife photographer Moose Peterson as our keynote speaker and photography workshop leader here for our fourth annual Birds of a Feather Fest," said Event Coordinator Jason Giraulo, the City's Digital Communications Coordinator. "His participation this year is a testament to the quality of birding in our community and helps us achieve our goal to bring world-class trips and classes to Flagler County."

In addition to Peterson leading the big trip to Orlando Wetlands Park, returning this year as expert birding guides are internationally known birder Greg Miller, whose story was the subject of The Big Year motion picture starring Jack Black; David and Dee Simpson of Space Coast Audubon (David is the current holder of the American Birding Association's Big Year for Florida); David Hartgrove, longtime Volusia County compiler for the North American Migration Count; Joe and Judie Dziak, Flagler's resident bald eagle experts; Michael Brothers of the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet; and Flagler Audubon members Mary Giraulo, Frank Quinn and Mary Kronenberg. A new guide joining the festival is Gallus Quigley, a guide who's seen 431 species in Florida and leads birding trips to the Dry Tortugas. A free reception Friday evening at Green Lion Café at Palm Harbor Golf Club will give everyone an opportunity to meet the experts.

Birders will love the guided trips to top birding sites in Central and Northeast Florida. In addition to Orlando Wetlands Park, this year's big trips are to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, Paynes Prairie Preserve, Viera Wetlands, Talbot Island State Park, Lyonia Preserve and Sweetwater Wetlands. Trips are also planned to Flagler County's own Princess Place Preserve, Matanzas Inlet, Pelicer Creek Conservation Area, the GTM NERR Dam entrance and Palm Coast's Central Park. The Gull Fly-In at Frank Rendon Park in Daytona Beach Shores will be back this year, as well.

"We are building on the successes of our first three years to offer great trips by well-known birding guides for serious birders, along with introductory walks for people who want to learn or are just getting started," Giraulo said. "We also have a fun event planned on Saturday to show people how they can experience great birding in their own backyards."

Sponsors for the 2018 Birds of a Feather Fest include Florida Power & Light, the Palm Coast Observer and Verde Go. FPL is the presenting sponsor for "An Evening with Moose Peterson." Please join us for the fourth annual Birds of a Feather Fest - Fun for the Whole Flock!

For more information, visit www.birdingfest.com or contact Giraulo at 386-986-2484 orjgiraulo@palmcoastgov.com.


Short video promo: https://youtu.be/uYIvqgJND7w