August 27, 2019

Edmonds Bird Fest About to Take Flight

Hundreds of people from the Seattle area are expected to “fly” into town for the three-day Edmonds Bird Fest festival taking place September 13-15, 2019. For the past 14 years The Puget Sound Bird Fest showcases what makes Edmonds such a special place to enjoy this hobby.

The Puget Sound Bird Fest highlights the important role that birds play in our local Edmonds ecosystem and economy: from pest control, to seed dispersal, to tourism. The overarching goal of the festival is to promote local birding, encourage bird-friendly gardening, and educate residents about conservation of bird habitat.

Photo by Janine Harles

Hundreds of different types of birds can be found in Edmonds. The Edmonds Marsh is one of the more popular places, listed by Audubon Washington as the first stop on the Cascades Loop of “The Great Washington State Birding Trail”. Nearly one hundred species of birds can be seen there alone. In addition to the marsh, there are many locations in town to spot all types of birds including Yost Park, the beaches, the public fishing pier, and local Edmonds parks.

We asked local Edmonds birding enthusiast and photographer, Pam Brisse about this popular hobby and how she got started.

“I’ve always loved birds but really started paying attention to them in our yard when my son was little and we did the Cornell Lab Great Backyard Bird Count in the winters. Since then I’ve worked to make our yard more bird-friendly—feeders, birdbaths, and planting things they like. This is the first year I’ve left food out all summer and it’s been eye-opening—all the birds bringing their fledglings in and showing them where and how to eat from the feeders—really amazing.”

Brisse says she’s been on the lookout to find owls to photograph in particular this summer but hasn’t had much luck. At the marsh she’s spotted red-winged blackbirds, great blue herons, killdeer and a few duck and goose families. And at Yost she’s seen pileated woodpeckers, flickers, bushtits, wood-pewees, spotted towhees, and hummingbirds.

“I mostly photograph the birds that come visit my backyard – we get all the regulars: chickadees, nuthatches, finches, wrens, robins, towhees, grosbeaks, juncos, sparrows, flickers, Steller’s jays, crows, bushtits and the hummingbirds. The most unusual backyard bird visitors this year have been a couple of band-tailed pigeons, a merlin (its legs were banded), and a western tanager. We also had a sharp shinned hawk a while ago,” she said.

Bird Fest exhibit at Frances Anderson Center; photo by Janine Harles

Bird Fest Activities

Bird Fest has attractions for people totally new to birding who are looking to get started as well as for people well-versed in the hobby. There are things to do at the festival for the entire family and many activities are free.

It all kicks off on Friday, September 13th at 7:30pm with a keynote from award-winning nature photographer, Tim Boyer. He will focus on the epic migration of shorebirds, including specifics about six breeds common to Washington, and why global conservation and climate change matter.

The opening speaker on Saturday is Steve Ball who will be teaching how to capture better bird photos, with tips and tricks and photography fundamentals. Later in the day at 3pm, Doug Wacker will present “Do Crows Have Language” where you can learn more about this fascinating breed of social birds.

There are at total of five morning bird walks taking place, three of which are free to join. You can also venture down to the Edmonds Marsh any time from 10am to 2pm for free bird viewing guided by Seattle Audubon.

Throughout the day Saturday you will find free indoor activities at Frances Anderson Center. Visit the many exhibitors and watch a variety of presenters and speakers. View a display of photos taken by both amateur and professional photographers and vote for your favorite. Take the kids to the kid’s area from 10am to 2pm to learn about owl pellets and make nature crafts.

Sunday offers a day full of outdoor activities including a bird cruise on the Sound, a field photography workshop, and a sketch crawl.

For a list of all of the events and activities, make sure to visit

Edmonds Bookshop window display celebrating Bird Fest

Local merchants celebrate birds

Several downtown Edmonds businesses are participating in Bird Fest, too, and have specials and discounts in honor of the festival. Here are some of the offers around downtown Edmonds.

Garden Gear & Gallery is offering 10% off all bird houses, bird feeders and accessories, and Raven’s Brew coffee.

Stranded by the Sea is planning a workshop on knitting/crocheting bird nests for rescue birds. Yarn kits will be available for purchase.

Kelnero’s “Black Raven” cocktail

Kelnero has two cocktail specials – the Black Raven and Bird of Paradise. And Scratch Distillery will have a special Blue Heron cocktail.

And fly by the Edmonds Bookshop to check out their special window display featuring a variety of bird books.

For more places for bird enthusiasts to visit around town, visit

By Kelsey Foster, Bird Fest photos courtesy of Janine Harles

More Features

Advisory Board meetings are held on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 8:00 a.m. Click for details.

Sign-up for our mailing list