Moore Haven, FL - Bird
enthusiasts are waiting patiently for April 2, 2004.
That is the day that the Third annual Big "O"
Birding Festival begins and for three days, the lake
region will be host to hundreds of avid birders in search
of the area‚s winged residents.
A project that began
as a bid to bring in economic development via ecotourism
has blossomed into an event that promises to bring the
Glades area the recognition it deserves for its varied
ecosystems and its plentiful wildlife - including, the
stars of the show - the birds.
Debbie Avery, Executive
Director of the Glades County Economic Development Council
is proud of the Festival and of the committee that has
managed to organize an event that not only appeals to
expert and amateur birders alike but also includes the
participation of the local residents. The Festival has
grown in such a way that the Florida Ornithological
Society has decided to make the Big "O" Birding
Festival the site for their annual meeting.
Festival is made up of a variety of events scheduled
through the three days that will cover the grasslands
of the Kissimmee Prairie, the Caloosahatchie River and
Lake Okeechobee itself. But these are not the only areas
that birders will be able to visit. Some will take a
canoe trip on Fisheating Creek, one of the few free-flowing
rivers in the area that boasts pristine surroundings
and lush vegetation. Others will enjoy the evening company
of Tom Gaskins of the Cypress Knee Museum as he takes
them on a hike through his property. As everyone hunkers
down beside a campfire for a wienie roast, Gaskins will
show off his famous turkey calls and with those, invite
the local owls over for a visit.
The field trips are many
and are as diverse as the birders taking them. Hard-core
enthusiasts can take the Turkey Trot tour that will
require some difficult hiking through a piece of property
known as Tasmania. But once, the birder catches sight
of the Osceola Turkey then the hiking will be well worth
the trip. A Regional Bird tour led by Dr. Paul Gray
of the Florida Audubon Society will point out Florida
Scrub Jays, Red-Shouldered Hawks and Burrowing Owls.
back at home base at the Doyle Conner Building and nearby
City Park in Moore Haven, there is a long list of lectures
that are available to those who want to brush up on
their knowledge of the very birds they seek. One lecture
shows participants how to dissect owl pellets and build
owl boxes. Stephen Nesbitt of Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation iCommission shares his knowledge of Florida‚s
cranes and the Whooping Crane Recovery Project.
For those interested
in taking a break between lectures or tours, Moore Haven‚s
Riverwalk Park will host an Arts and Crafts Show on
Saturday, April 3rd. Visitors will be able to view artwork
by bird artists, arts and crafts booths and will also
find plenty of food and entertainment.
After three days of
non-stop birding events, the Festival wraps everything
up on the last day with a Keynote Dinner at the KOA
in Okeechobee. The featured speaker will be Brad Winn,
Coastal Bird Specailist, photographer and noted Author.
The three days of the
Big "O" Birding Festival will be a thoroughly
enjoyable experience for all those attending as well
as for the organizers of the event.
For more information
on the tours available and registration, call the Glades
County Economic Development Council at 863-946-0300.
More information is also available at www.bigobirdingfestival.com
or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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