Birding & Blues Festival – Top USA Festivals

Pacific City

Kiawanda Community Center,

34600 Cape Kiwanda Drive (event headquarters)

Late April

In a unique fusion, this annual award-wining event celebrates a favorite coastal activity—birdwatching—with an evening accompaniment of blues music over the course of three days during the height of spring migration for myriad species of birds that annually stop along Oregon’s estuaries, beaches, and nearshore waters. The Birding & Blues Festival features expert speakers presenting on a variety of bird-related topics as well as field trips to local birding hotspots (including kayak tours and dory boat outings). Seminars and presentations are held at the Kiawanda Community Center on Cape Kiwanda Drive on the west side of the Nestucca River.

Birding & Blues Festival – Top USA Festivals Photo Gallery

Embrace the winter rains at the Oregon Coast and then head inside to sample regional ales at Pouring at the Coast.

Nearby, Cape Kiwanda Beach and its namesake headland, and the picturesque offshore sea stack—Haystack Rock—comprise the most popular shoreline in the area for visitors (ever-popular Pelican Brewing Company sits beside the large parking lot serving the beach). Friday and Saturday evenings after the birding activities, festival attendees are treated to live acts performed by notable bands and musicians from throughout the region. Attendees can choose from a variety of registration-fee options. A modestly priced deluxe pass (see event website) provides access to all presentations, field trips, and concerts.

Local birdwatching venues are both numerous and productive for a variety of species. Nestucca Bay is a narrow estuary gathering both the Nestucca and Little Nestucca Rivers and is a hotspot for waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, and raptors. Nestucca Spit separates the lower river from the ocean and is preserved as Bob Straud State Park; both the west (ocean) side and east (river) side of the two-mile-long peninsula are prime locations for spring birdwatching and accessible by trails and beach walking. One of Oregon’s newest state parks, Sitka Sedge State Natural Area, just north of Tierra Del Mar and about 3.5 miles north of Cape Kiwanda, encompasses nearly 400 acres of the Sand Lake Estuary (with some 5 miles of hiking trails), and complements Clay Myers State Natural Area on Whalen Island just to the north. These areas provide public access to some of the best birdwatching on the central coast and festival field trips visit these and 1 Kaleidoscopic Harlequin Ducks are among the many species other hotspots. birders might see during the Birding & Blues Festival.

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