Festival of Hawks brings enthusiasts to Amherstburg

Filed under: Headline,In Our Community |

Bob-Hall-Brooks-holds-a-feathered-friend-during-the-annual-bird-auction by Adam Gault

Talons, beaks, and feathers of all shapes and sizes brought birding enthusiasts from far and wide to the Holiday Beach Conservation Area this past weekend. The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) and the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory (HBMO) hosted the first of two consecutive weekends for the annual Festival of Hawks.

The annual event is hosted in conjunction with the HBMO, an organization of committed volunteers dedicated to studying the movement of migratory birds as they pass through Holiday Beach during their long migration process.

Despite slightly cooler than normal seasonal weather, enthusiasts came by the dozens to take part in the event, which featured vendors, live demonstrations of songbirds, owls, and various birds of prey, and many experts from HBMO and ERCA who were more than happy to share their knowledge in the subject in which they take tremendous passion.

The hawks and birds of prey that were the main attraction of the event are classified as “raptors” and no, Holiday Beach does not feature the flesh-eating dinosaurs that were prominently featured in a summer blockbuster from 25 years ago.

Instead, the designation “raptor” comes from the Latin word “rapere,” which means to seize or take by force. This is an apt description as the sharp beaks and talons of these creatures make them more than capable hunters and their beauty is matched only by the danger they possess to their unfortunate prey.Not-just-for-hawks,-owls-and-birds-of-all-sizes-are-featured-at-the-Festival-of-Hawks

Alex Denonville, ERCA’s event planner, said the event is an incredible way to keep people of all ages interested in birding and the preservation of our natural areas.

“I feel like Holiday Beach is a hidden gem in our area. Getting young people and families interested in nature and birding is important to the future preservation of these areas,” Denonville explained. He also noted the event is a popular destination with American visitors and is a fantastic way to bring visitors to our region.

If last weekend’s event fell under your radar, this coming weekend’s festivities are sure to offer something for everyone.

On Saturday, September 17th the experts will be back at Holiday Beach to share their tips on the most effective ways to spot and identify birds, how the public can help to support the local Purple Martin population, and will host an open forum where birders of all levels are encouraged to ask any and all questions.

The festival wraps up this Sunday, September 18th with a discussion on hummingbirds, and a discussion on which binoculars and viewing equipment offer the best bang for your buck.

Both days will continue to feature a multitude of live bird demonstrations and the chance to support local bird populations through the ever popular “auction” and donations to support local banded birds.

Families and children of all ages and levels of expertise are encouraged to attend this fun and educational event.

For full details, visit erca.org/birding.