18th Annual BirdFest and Bluegrass Celebration


BirdFest & Bluegrass Commemorative Buttons


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Thank you to everyone who made BirdFest & Bluegrass 2016 a success!

It was a great weekend! Wonderful craft vendors, and kids crafts at Davis Park, birding with Vancouver Audubon, Cathlapotle Plankhouse activities, Traditional Salmon Bake, Portland Audubon birds on display, kids’ crafts, awesome volunteers, amazing presenters, Sandhill Crane Tours, Audubon Naturalist Spotting scopes, a little bit of rain and…FUN! We hope BirdFest & Bluegrass 2016 was enjoyed by all!

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The 18th Annual BirdFest & Bluegrass 2017 will be October 7th & 8th!
Keep an eye out this summer for the schedule of events, vendor sign-up, volunteer sign-up and more!

BirdFest & Bluegrass Planning Committee Seeks New Members and Ideas!

Do you love attending our annual BirdFest celebration? Do you want to see it be successful in 2017? If so, than we need YOU to get involved in planning this years event. Commitment is one two hour meeting a month, March – September, and volunteering BirdFest Weekend (October 7th & 8th).
We are looking for help in the following areas:
  • Coordinating the vendors in the Birders Marketplace at the Community Center
  • Coordinate special walks or talks
  • Volunteers to lend a hand
  • Ideas on things you would like to see during BirdFest? Workshops? Talks? Activities you wish we had?
  • Just sit in and brainstorm new and exciting BirdFest activities!

Want to Make BirdFest a success?

Contact Us at: Contact@ridgefieldfriends.org

The 2017 Bird Of The Year is the Turkey Vulture- Cathartes aura

Turkey Vulture, latin Cathartes aura, translates to purifying breeze- ridgefield_NWR_turkey_vulture_wings_08-11-07_LynTopinkaperhaps relating to their role in riding the wind and cleaning the landscape of dead things. They are one of the largest raptors, smaller only than Eagles and Condors. They hold their wings slightly raised during flight, giving them a ‘V’ appearance when seen head on. A slightly wobbly flyer, they ride the thermals up to higher vantage points when not gliding close to the ground sniffing for food.

ridgefield_NWR_turkey_vulture_adult_09-21-07_LynTopinkaTurkey Vultures are the only scavenger that cannot also kill its prey, as its feet are shaped more like a chickens than an eagle or hawks, making their feet useless for tearing up flesh. Their beaks do all the work, tearing through even the toughest cow hide.

Turkey Vultures have some interesting habits; they are known to defecate on their own feet to cool down in the hotter seasons, and their excrement is sterile so it helps their feet stay clean (after standing in dead things all day) as well as cool, since they can’t sweat.

If a Turkey Vulture is disturbed ridgefield_NWR_turkey_vulture_wings_lower_08-11-07_LynTopinkaor harassed it will vomit on the offending party, even the fledglings will vomit on intruders. They can project their vomit up to 10 feet!

Turkey vultures have a great sense of smell, being able to smell carrion over a mile away- proving their olfactory system is the largest of any bird.

Turkey Vultures are migratory, and generally arrive in Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in February or March and leave in October. They can be seen most often on the River ‘S’ Auto Tour route and the Kiwa Trail during the summer.

RNWR_turkey_vulture_08-24-12 Lyn TopinkaLastly… there is evidence that their efficient digestive system can consume anthrax, botulism, and hantavirus with no trace of these toxins in their waste.  They literally can eat toxins that kill humans and other mammals.

Photos by: Lyn Topinka


For rules and guidelines concerning birding, hikes, workshops, and regular visits to the refuge:



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