Orcas Bird and Wildlife Festival

The San Juans are lush with wildlife.

And the Orcas Island Chamber’s upcoming festival will pay tribute to the splendor of the outdoors.

“In our third year, the festival is celebrating the wildlife in and around Orcas Island,” said Chamber Director Lance Evans. “Whether you are exploring on land or in the Salish Sea, we are encouraging everyone to take part.”

The Bird and Wildlife Festival will run Friday, April 29 to Sunday, May 1 on Orcas Island. Participants can enjoy nature talks, wildlife tours and a lecture from keynote speaker Joe Gaydos. The festival is also partnering with chamber members to offer whale and wildlife tours. Outer Island Excursions, Deer Harbor Charters, Orcas Island Eclipse Charters and Shearwater Kayak Adventures are participating.

The Orcas Wildlife Institute for Learning and Discovery is an interpretive center at 217 Main Street in Eastsound. It will present a talk series by marine naturalist Katie Dunbar about how birds and whales coexist in the dynamic ecosystem that is the San Juans. Each talk will discuss different species and biodiversity of this region, from Bonaparte’s Gulls to Bald Eagles and beyond. The talks start at 10 a.m. and are about 30 minutes with a question session afterwards.

The topics are as follows:

  • Friday, April 29: Birds and Whales of the Salish Sea.
  • Saturday, April 30: Birds and Killer Whales.
  • Sunday, May 1: Birds and Baleen Whales.

Dr. Gaydos, director and chief scientist with the SeaDoc Society, will present “The Amazing Wildlife of the Salish Sea” at The Loft in Eastsound on Saturday, April 30 from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets for the three-course dinner are $50, and are available by reservation only. Contact the Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce at 376-2273 for tickets.

“The festival is a great way to enhance our own knowledge about the beautiful environment we live in as well as share it with visitors,” said Susan Gudgell, chamber board president.