Sunday's for the Birds and the Birds Have the Right Idea

While my husband and I were on our 19-month road trip, we planned to avoid the worst weather. During our 47,000 miles, we migrated with the birds, going south in the winter and north in the summer. Now that we're sedentary, I miss those perpetually glorious days. Needless to say, after a week of snow and ice, this Texas gal is more than ready for her trip to the Texas Coast. I look forward to seeing my family and friends, but I also plan to spend some time with fellow birders and my avian pals. The 16th annual Whooping Crane Festival is taking place on February 23-26 in Port Aransas, and I will be there to hear Dr. George Archibald, cofounder of the International Crane Foundation, talk about his lifelong experience in working with cranes. Oceanographer Tony Amos, founder of the Animal Rehabilitation Keep, will educates us on the identification of shorebirds. To top off my visit, a friend has arranged an up-close and personal trip to see my favorite bird, the whooping crane, which migrates to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in the winter. By the time they get the itch to head north, I'll also be ready to return home.

Below are the festival highlights. Hope to see you there!'

Lecture Series Speakers  FREE
Brown Bag Lunch Lecture Series Guest Speaker, Lowell Schake presents "On the Wings of Cranes" Wednesday, Feb. 22 at noon during the Festival. Bring you lunch to the Port Aransas Civic Center and and enjoy some 'birdy' talk!

Also during the festival, an evening lecture will take place on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7:00 the auditorium at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute. As an ongoing Laura Randall Schweppe Endowed Lecture Series, Dr. Juan Bahamon will share his experience, knowledge and photographs from South America. Join us as Dr. Bahamon presents "Humans & Hummingbirds."

Don't miss the Birding Field Trip at the Port Aransas Nature Preserve
Join our birding experts Joan and Scott Holt for a tour of the Port Aransas Nature Preserve. The newest addition to nature sites in Port Aransas, this trip will explore the trails within the park that provide feeding areas and important habitat for shorebirds and endangerd and threatened species...learn from the local experts!!!

Butterfly Tent   FREE
Join South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center as they present the Butterfly Tent inside the Bird's Nest Trade Show. Enjoy viewing several different species of these beauties!
Children's Corner   FREE

Bring your children to visit the Children's Corner at the Birds Nest Trade Show in the Civic Center on Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., courtesy of the Port Aransas Parks and Recreation Department. On Sunday, join us from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for a special presentation of Not So Creepy Critters.

Commemorative T-Shirts & Optical Equipment
The Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce is selling the 2012 Commemorative Festival T-shirts and Raffle Tickets at the Chamber Office at 403 Cotter. Beginning on Thursday, Feb 23 at 1:30 p.m., you can purchase your T-shirts at the Civic Center. The raffle tickets are $2 each, 3 for $5, 8 for $10 and give registrants the opportunity to win a Vortex Skyline ED 20-60X80 angled spotting scope, Summit Series Tripod, Day at Fennessey Ranch, HEB gift certificates and more!

Art Center for the Islands Int'l Children's Art Exhibit   FREE
Plan to view the incredible artwork created by children from the International Crane Foundation's "Bird of Peace" World Art Exhibit. This traveling art exhibit features fine art by children from several countries, including Russia, China, Vietnam, Sweden, and the United States.  
This free exhibit can be viewed at the Art Center for the Islands, 323 N. Alister.
February 16 - February 26  Mon. - Sat. 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Sun. noon - 4:00 p.m.

8th Annual Kiwanis Club Beach Dash
The Port Aransas Kiwanis Club is sponsoring a Beach Dash with a 10K run, 5K run, 2 mile walk and a kid's 1/2K dash. Awards and prizes will be given out and all proceeds benefit Port Aransas youth. Entry fee is $25 for all events on race day.  
Sat., Feb. 25 at 8:00 a.m. on the beach at Horace Caldwell Pier.

Optics Presentations   FREE
Friday, Feb. 24 and Saturday, Feb. 25 at 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at the Bill Ellis Memorial Library.

Guided Tour of the Animal Rehabilitation Keep (ARK)
Tour the Animal Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, a facility dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of injured and sick sea turtles and aquatic birds.

Guided Tour of the Wetlands Education Center (WEC) FREE
The Wetlands Education Center, occupies 3.5 acres between the MSI Visitors Center and the South Jetty. It is a marsh/seagrass pond landscaped and planted with various seagrasses and appropriate coastal vegetation nourished by water from the Aransas Pass Ship Channel.