Shorebirds, motherhood: What don’t they have in common?

The annual Kachemak Bay Shore Bird Festival arrives along with Mother’s Day, a coincidental pairing of events that somehow ought to go together. Just as winter is walking away – not fast enough this particular spring – in comes a season of the migrations. Our visitors have endured lengthy flights from thousands of miles. Their time in the bay will allow them to bulk up on nutrients to see them through the final legs of their journeys to points north. There they will nest and produce the next generation of super fliers.
The month of May brings a lot of hope, among them that our earth habits aren’t bringing too much damage to the tender birds. Data gathered by biologists and in a citizen science project suggests the number of birds arriving here are not nearly as high in number as they once were when the shorebird festival was launched in 1993. A changing climate, toxins and pollution all play a part. In Homer, we are fortunate to be on the flyway and we are lucky that local people had the foresight to create the shorebird festival.
It’s also a time when mothers and ‘children’ in all generational ages recall their own links, and people reconnect to the outdoors. Some families hold traditions of Mother’s Day Walks, or Mother’s Day Brunch. How about starting a tradition of Mother’s Day Birding? Your mom would like it. If you’re a young person reading this and take it on, she’ll think you’re brilliant. If you’re an adult, she’ll think you’re the most thoughtful person around.
Check out the many events available to be attended this week, a chance to learn more and share. Birding, as our keynote speaker tells us in this week’s Homer Tribune, is good for anything that ails modern people. It can’t be done on the computer screen. Birds make us get outside and study the sky or bays or waterways. We do it in large groups as well, or smaller ones if that’s preferred. It’s a chance to make a new friend. We do it as a community when we attend the public events.
And when you think about it, moms and children have done this activity for as long as there’s been speech. Mothers have likely pointed out birds or bird behavior since primordial times. It would be a way to teach about seasons and places and foods. Remember the first time you pointed out a bird to a parent and asked a question? Or your parent shared a detail or fact with you on birds? Sitting at a park, out on a hike, most all of us can share an experience along these lines.
It only makes sense that a bird festival should somehow cross over with a day to celebrate motherhood.
The festival begins Thursday with talks and events around town. On Thursday night, it’s On the Wing at the Homer Theatre featuring music and song. Friday, Saturday and Sunday continue in a good line up of events. If you want to invite mom along for a special activity, check out these options on Saturday:
• Creatures of the Dock Tours from 1 to 3 p.m. at Harbor Ramp 2.
• A family bird walk at Beluga Slough
• Another family bird walk at the Calvin and Coyle Trail 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
• A talk by keynote Jeffery Gordon, “Birding Together” at 7 p.m. in the Mariner Theatre.
On Sunday, there’s birding at the Lighthouse Village, learning to detect bird identification with your ears by Rich Kleinleder and a chance to learn about wild edible plants at the Bishop Beach Picnic shelter 10 to 11:30 a.m. One last chance to see Phillip Hoose, author, as he talks about the Race to Save the Lord God Bird from 10:45 to 11:30 at the Islands and Ocean Visitor Center.

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Posted by on May 8th, 2013 and filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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