Wings Over Water takes flight March 17-19


The Wings Over Water Northwest Birding Festival will bring the joys of bird watching to Blaine, Birch Bay and Semiahmoo for its 20th annual event from Friday, March 17 to Sunday, March 19.

The festival will start with a featured artist opening night reception along with a Mexican buffet and a no-host bar at 5 p.m. on March 17 at the Blaine Senior Center, 763 G Street. Festival co-founder Maynard Axelson will discuss the black brant, the festival’s poster bird, as well as waterfowl migration changes along the Pacific Flyway, which runs from Patagonia to Alaska. The festival’s featured artist Laurel Mundy will also showcase her art that highlights ecology and conservation issues during the reception. Opening reception tickets cost $30 and space is limited. 

“If you’ve never had the opportunity to see what’s in your community, it’s a real eye opener,” festival coordinator Debbie Harger said. “It’s addicting once you realize what’s out there.”

Harger encouraged those who want to participate in festival activities to sign up now as many events are already booking up. Registration can be done at 

The festival also offers an array of activities that don’t need registration. The all-day birding expo, which does not require registration, will have expert speakers, vendors, wildlife exhibits, youth activities, live raptor presentations from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 18 at Blaine Community Pavilion, 635 8th Street. Puget Sound Energy scientist Mel Walters will give a 5 p.m. keynote speech to end the expo on how the energy utility company is working to make its operations safer for birds. 

A birding breakfast will take place 9-11 a.m. March 19 at Blaine Senior Center. The festival will offer free youth activities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 19 at BP Heron Center at Birch Bay State Park. Wild Whatcom will also host a guided family bird walk at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. starting at the BP Heron Center. Parking is free at the state park on March 19.

The festival will sell Wings Over Water hats for $18 and bags for $30 to celebrate its 20th anniversary. 

“It’s going to be a great festival,” Harger said. “It won’t be a disappointment.”


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