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RECAP: 2017 Hastings Birding Festival

The Blue Jay blends in with a young girls' dress during a beautiful day at Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center. Photo by Alec Hamilton1 / 8
After being released, a bird flies up a close-by treee to keep an eye on the proceedings. Photo by Alec Hamilton2 / 8
Two girls learn about the ways to identify if an American Goldfinch is male or female and how old it is. Photo by Alec Hamilton3 / 8
A CNC worker shows off a recently caught Blue Jay during the 2017 Birding Festival. Photo by Alec Hamilton4 / 8
A Brown Thrust takes off out of a worker's hand after having its band checked. Photo by Alec Hamilton5 / 8
A family looks on as an American Goldfinch is about to be released after being banded. Photo by Alec Hamilton6 / 8
Two siblings search the brush for signs of wildlife at CNC on Earth Day. Photo by Alec Hamilton7 / 8
Benjamin Douglas speaks about the different types of equipment that are commonly used by beginning and advanced birders. Photo by Alec Hamilton8 / 8

The Hastings Environmental Protectors partnered with Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center to host the 2017 Hastings Birding Festival to help celebrate Earth Day April 22.

Registration started at 7 a.m. and the event went until 4 p.m. Featured was an all-day bird banding demonstration, a birding competition for all ages, field trips guided by experienced area birders, classes on birding, and several speakers.

CNC set up several large nets around the property to help catch birds humanely. Once a bird was caught, it was brought inside and if it had a band around its leg, the number was recorded and the bird identified. If the bird did not have a band, one was put on and the bird released, all of which could be observed by the guests.

Three divisions were created for kids and young adults to compete to see who could find and identify the most bird species during the day. Vincent and Katie Veith won the 10 and under division by identifying 27 different species without any adult help. Julien Veda, Brendan Barrow and Sam Taylor for the Minnesota Young Birders Club won the 16-18 year old division.

Field trips were led to the Hastings river flats, Afton State Park, Lakes Byllesby, Miesville Ravine and others. Speakers over the course of the day were Tim Schlagenhaft, the Upper Mississippi River Program manager for Audubon, Minn.; Alex Sundvall who was Young Birder of the Year; and birders Benjamin Douglas (who spoke about birding gear) and John Jonas (who taught the basics of bird photography).

Over 75 participants registered to take part in the competition and managed to identify 94 different species of birds, as well as numerous guests who observed the bird banding and speakers.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a sports reporter and general assignment reporter at the Hastings Star Gazette. He is a journalism graduate of Drake University.

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