CHICO — Bird watchers from all over the north state have scanned the waterways of Butte County looking for snow geese and any other birds they could recognize during the Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway.
The 15th annual festival ends today, but there are still workshops and demonstrations available at the Masonic Family Center at 1110 West East Ave. Almost all the field trips are booked, with the exception of the Chico Christmas Bird Count for Kids, which begins at 10 a.m. at the Chico Creek Nature Center and lasts about four hours.
The festival has drawn between 2,500 and 3,000 people through the week, said Kathleen Huber, an administrative assistant for the festival.
“If you drive anywhere in the valley, you see thousands and thousands, hundreds of thousands of birds,” she said.
The snow geese, along with other geese, ducks and swans, pair up for mating this time of year, said Shelly Kirn, a field trip guide and biology teacher at Chico State University.
Kirn led a troop of 22 people to the Llano Seco viewing platform Saturday morning.
Constantly pointing out different species, Kirn also talked about the habits of different birds and taught the bird watchers different bird calls through the use of an iPod and a speaker.
One bird watcher on the trip, Lauren Muselman, said she had never noticed how predators like eagles can scare birds away until hundreds of ducks and geese began quacking and squawking before fleeing when a bald eagle started flying overhead.
Muselman also volunteered at the event as a member of the California Conservation Corps.
She helped kids make bird masks with feathers.
Other volunteers made quail calls or certified kids as Junior Naturalists for the festival.
Randy Keyes of Chico handed out booklets for kids to fill out.
There are people throughout the event who have different pictures of birds pinned to their clothes, he said. When the kids learn about all the birds in the booklet and finish filling it out, they get a certificate and a name tag.
“There will be another crew coming in (Sunday), but I”ll still help out,” Muselman said. “This is a fun event.”